10 June, 2002
I am sitting here tonight in my tent at 8:45 pm. It was a great day again, but I am going to take it through it a little backwards and start with right now.
First, imagine being 100 miles or so from the closest village. Living arrangements include a sleeping tent and a larger group tent shared with four other people. In the larger group tent is a small coleman stove hooked to a propane tank, boxes of groceries, a small table and bench seats and a entry way filled with hipboots, backpacks and other miscellaneous gear. The corners and edges of the tent are filled with everything from a shotgun, to computer equipment to more scientific measurement equipment. When we sit in here to eat, we
have to hunch over a little to avoid touching the edges and top of the tent. It is a place of luxury, though, as when we close most of the vents and cook, it can warm up into the 50's.
My tent comes complete with area to sleep three (very small people, I believe). I have it crammed full of clothes, books, cameras and computer equipment. I am sitting tonight bundled under my sleeping bag with sweatshirt and pants on (I tried typing with mittens but it wouldn't work). It is about 34 degrees outside, with a much cooler wind chill. While we ate supper, I had the computer cord extended through one of the vents and plugged into a gas generator to recharge the batteries. When I am ready to send this up to the webpage, I
will hook the laptop up to the satellite phone, set the phone outside, move it 5 or 6 times until it gets good reception, pull my hands back into the tent freezing cold, then connect to the internet, wait 5 minutes to access my email, send the message, and wait a few minutes before that is done. If I have to check and reply to emails, it takes at least 5-10 minutes for each one, due to the slowness of the satellite connection. I have tried to do pictures, but my other computer is having a personality meltdown and won't let me import the video I've taken. I'm not sure with the slowness of the connection that I could send pictures, but I am still working on trying to get the problem solved. So although I love technology, I am beginning
to think it has a time and place and this may not be it!
Anyway, the day - - Incredible. I spent the morning doing a lot of backtracking and circling in an attempt to reach a specific swan nest for measurements. Once that was finally accomplished (and it is a good thing I'm stubborn!), I went back to 3 of the nests found yesterday to measure the mass of the eggs and insert the hobo temps. After that I wandered around the tundra by myself and found a
possible King Eider nest, 5 more swans (but couldn't find their nests), watched 2 swans do a courtship dance on the lake, attempted
to talk to some rock ptarmigans, tried to determine who was more curious, me or some caribou, and ended up covering around 23 km of ground (almost 12 miles) by the end of the day. When I got back
here, my legs were so heavy and my feet were burning. Walking on the tundra is a little more challenging than a road: I am wearing hipwaders with boots that are a little too big, carrying a backpack with all the gear and cameras, and wobbling on tussocks or sloshing through swamps. It is a lot of fun in a weird sort of way. Oddly, I can't wait to do it all again tomorrow!
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