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2015 Summer Arctic Trip

August 10th


Blog post from August 10th:

This morning, we all woke up slowly. Even though we've been outside for three nights now, sleeping on the tundra is still so new each time. Hearing the wind whipping the tent and blowing everywhere makes everything feel very cozy.

After breakfast (with amazing pancake art) we started out for the fen we were going to collect data on. It was a beautiful, clear morning on the tundra; in fact, the lack of wind had us putting on bug hats to keep the mosquitos and black flies off. Suddenly, as we walked along the beach ridge, Jim stopped us all. We were all quiet as he held his binoculars up to his face, looking, before informing us of the presence of a polar bear some 300 meters off. This was the first bear we had met in the park (other than some lucky people who had seen bears from the helicopter) and it was an amazing moment. There is something incredibly humbling about being that close and in touch with the land, and I think we all felt the same as we watched the bear sleeping through the adults' binoculars.

We probed and probed and probed once we reached the fen because of the rocky ground. After a tea and lunch break, Jim took us with his students to see a fox den. We explored for a while before splitting up into two groups. The first went to visit more dens, and the second went back to camp to clean the sheds and make dinner (to music of course). That evening, we had a presentation from Shu (Jim's student) on pictures their cameras had captured on dens. There were several "selfies" of curious animals exploring the camera, and many many cute pictures of wolf pups.

We finished the day around a bonfire at camp. Burning all the extra wood from cleaning the shed, we managed to roast marshmallows. It's the little moments like these that are so amazing on this trip with these people.

-Rhiannon Swan, Kelvin High School grade 12