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Mar 31, 04 - It's a bird, it's a plane, no, it's flying sledges!  Global SchoolNet
 Apr 05, 2004 11:20 PDT 

Mar 31, 04 - It's a bird, it's a plane, no, it's flying sledges!

Today the ice conditions were the worst I've encountered to date. The
presented ridges were massive, and there were many of them. not a lot of
large pans, but plenty of frozen leads and lots of jumbled pack ice.

The sun was out in a clear sky most of the day, but the wind was
relentless. At times the gusts were almost strong enough to knock me
down. My 300lb sledges were often blown off course. There was a huge
sundog, a double sundog in fact, visible most of the day. For the
teachers and students following along, find out what a sundog is and why
they occur.

Each step towards the pole is a mini-victory in itself. My body aches
from head to toe. And my sledges squeal and groan as though they too
object to the physical abuse bestowed upon them.

I did get a chuckle and some amazement going through a large pressure
ridge. Large and tall blocks of jagged and glassy ice meant that there
was going to be a substantial drop-off where the sledges would be
rocketing down the other side.

I carefully and forcefully dragged my sledges through the 'opening' in
the pressure ridge. As I came to the drop-off on the other side I tried
to ease the sledges down a slick ramp of ice and onto a frozen lead.
This made me a bit nervous as it was high to the lead and is how I put
my leg into the ocean the first time.

As gently as I could, I lowered the sledges towards the lead, some 7
feet below. The first, and heavier/larger sledge landed fairly well with
a mighty thud. But this caused a reaction from the smaller sledge I
wasn't expecting. The second smaller lighter sledge rocketed off the ice
ramp, becoming perfectly airborne, clearing the other blocks of ice and
landing right at my feet! That surprised me, and also made me laugh.

At the end of the day the high winds made setting up my tent difficult,
and it took me much longer. With the tent up, I boiled water for my
dinners (beef stroganoff and beef enchiladas), ate dinner, and crawled
into my icy sleeping bag. I fell fast asleep, only to awake now to take
a pee and file my update. Goodnight.
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