A blank page waves from a single flag pole propped in the vast subcortical network of my mental workspace. When I zero in on it, a hint of color leaches through, teasing me with thoughts of surrendering to the barrage of images suddenly cascading from above. But I’m not ready to abandon the hunt in the recesses of my brain for that perfect sparkling idea on how to proceed with sharing my recent experience in the arctic. Sure, a picture is worth a thousand words, but I’m not inclined to yield to that cliché just yet.
In answer to my pure stubbornness, another flag flaps from the middle of the mêlée and suggests that I jump the timeline and skip ahead to the day of our departure on the sleds.
But it doesn’t feel right to leave out the part when, the day before, Mette kindly lends me the sealskin jacket that she made for herself
because my 4’11” (149 cm) frame is swimming in the smallest snowsuit in the rental shop, regardless of the many layers of clothing I’m wearing underneath. Even a pre-homo-erectus Donna with an especially elongated torso and knuckles that scrape the ground when she attempts to walk upright would have a hard time filling out its arms and legs.
I’m also not ready yet to describe what it was like to take a spill off the sled, roll away from it like a tumbleweed in a stiff wind, and struggle to my feet in an attempt to outmaneuver the pack of dogs charging from behind
only to incite a 24-pooch-pile-up that took the masterful finesse and nimble dexterity of our hunters a mere few minutes to untangle.
In my defense though, it’s not easy to spring to your feet when you’re packed tighter than a super burrito from your favorite taco truck on the I-5.
With a bit of repositioning and Sabine volunteering to be my safety bar, I managed to get comfortable with the likelihood of avoiding another tumble and tangle.
If I jump ahead a day, I’d also have to leave out the marvelous meal we had at Magnus’ and Andrea’s house. Magnus’ warm hospitality and Andrea’s phenomenal plat du jour would be stiff competition for any restaurant in Ittoqqortoormiit if it had one. The vegetarians among us flipped over her arctic char and the carnivores in our lively band of adventurers left little room for dessert after several helpings of her outrageous roast umimmar. I’ve been a huge musk ox fan ever since my first visit to Greenland in 2009, but after this evening filled with splendiferous storytelling and fine food, I might have to make a visit to Ittoqqortoormiit much more often just to eat.
Well…now that I’ve managed to hit the highlights of what would have been left out had I skipped to the morning of our departure, I’ll continue with our arrival at Kap Swainson, the first overnight on our four-day dogsledding adventure.
Once the dogs were settled
the water set to boil for tea, and the tents pitched for the brave souls among us who volunteered to sleep outdoors since the cabin only had room for six,
everyone hiked up the mountain behind our camp with Esajas.
Since I was still acclimating to getting around in my giant boots,
I stayed behind to watch for polar bears while Albert, Gaba, and Emil
realigned their sites and made repairs to faulty equipment.
After a dinner of sandwiches and boiled puiser,
the seal being somewhat of an acquired taste for most of us,
there was time for a quick lesson in switch snapping
until the shadows grew long
and beckoned one last trek
to the edge of the ice
with enough time to make it back to camp before nightfall,
proving that often a picture is indeed worth a thousand words.
Or, as in this case, 691 of them.
Qujanaq for stopping by today ❤
Photo Credit for this post also given in part to Oona, Marianne, and Damian
For previous posts leading up to this day see: