The gift of a late March snow storm is that is prompts one to stay home and attend to one’s packing chores. Marian and I spent much of today doing Greenland prep chores. I don’t know how I ever managed to get out on an expedition without her. She’s the best! In the picture above, Marian is designing a pair of overboots for my ski boots-she is re-purposing a vest she got from Value-Vill. On those super cold Greenland mornings, I’ll be able to put a Marian original ski boot “parkas” on to give my feet some extra insulation and keep my toes happy. I’m much appreciating Marian’s skill and experience with sewing clothing and outdoor gear. She’s contemplating sewing us a spray squirt for our summer canoe expedition…truly amazing to me!
I “pulled” gear today. Working off the master trip gear list, I started the official pile in the living room…err…expedition staging area. This process always entails many decisions every step of the way-trying to choose the best option or best combination of gear and clothing to meet the challenges ahead. Having just completed a trip to Mount Vinson in Antarctica in December, I am more relaxed about many of the decisions since I know what worked well in the super cold of the seventh continent. I decided on my clothing system, my climbing gear, my med and body patch kit (I packed lots of extra foot care supplies since ski traverses are notorious for being hard on the feet).
I also packaged up the snacks I’ll take along. It’s my usual mix of sweet, savory, and sour, though this time, I decided not to mix them. (For Antarctica, I made 17 lunch packs each containing a different mix of snack items). This trip, the above snacks, are extra to the expedition food. They provide a stash for fun, extra calories and a little comfort on the way. Food is key on longer expeditions, shorter ones too. Not only does it provide sustenance, it provides excitement and incentive to keep eating (which actually gets tiresome when you are trying to eat 4000-6000 calories a day).
I saw this video yesterday of Aleksander Gamme, who made a solo expedition in Antarctica from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole and back again. The 100 day expedition was super hard and challenging, of course! On Day 86, when Aleksander came across his final resupply cache, the celebration of finding a package of Cheese Doodles has to be seen to be appreciated. You have to watch about a minute to get the full effect… Of the video, Aleksander writes, “This is day 86 on my full return South Pole Expedition 2011/2012. I`m quite hungry and about to pick up my last cache by my second pulk which I left on the way in. As a part of my motivational plan I have on purpose not made notes on what goodies I have left behind in the cache.. and on this last one, I didn`t expect very much…”
Here my “Hero of the Sewing Machine” is installing side zips in my lightweight nylon wind pants. They came with only an eight inch boot zipper but three-quarter length zips are much more convenient for venting as well as putting on and taking off the pants, so it’s pretty cool that Marian can improve on MEC’s design.
I’ve also got many of the electronics that are going on the trip charging and discharging right now. I’m deep cycling the sat phone’s battery (thanks to Terri and Kimi for the loan of it-it’s going to make dispatches from the expedition a possibility). I’m trying to get the solar panel to charge the Brunton battery I have and trying to get the Brunton to charge the I-pod. Camera batteries are loading juice and I’m finding the cords to patch them all together.
All in all a very productive day, gotta love those out with the Lion snowstorms…