March 19 – After the RCMP escorted the bags we are sending down to Pang (e.g., extra clothes, books, and misc. stuff for the plane home), we packed up our pulks and gear onto Billy’s komatek sled. Our friend “Pete” the dog joined us down on the ice to send us off. We enjoyed a 3-hour bumpy, but amazing, snowmobile ride to the entrance of the pass. About 15 miles before reaching our drop-off point Billy noticed a fresh set of polar bear tracks, along with the tracks of two cubs, heading into the pass. Although this is rare for this time of year, Billy told us that bears often den up in the mountains of the pass with their young before heading out to the pack ice for seal hunting. Per Billy’s request, we spent the night in the North Pang safety shelter due to the tracks leading our way.
March 20 – We woke up at 6:30 this morning, packed up the pulks (an hour task), put on our skis, and headed out. With the pulks being on the small side, and HEAVY, we encountered miles of hard snowdrifts, rock gardens, and heaved-up ice near the streams. Two words come to mind: BEAUTIFULLY DIFFICULT. Our main problem today was that the pulks tipped not once, not twice, but probably somewhere around 143 times or so. If the other person isn’t right next to you, a tipped pulk means that you take off your backpack, remove your harness, turn around on your skis, tip the pulk back over, ski back to the front, re-harness up, and put your pack back on. Fun stuff! We are trying some new gear/harness/pulk combinations tomorrow and will report back. Thanks for following along! Its been a bumpy start (literally), but it’s only going to get better!