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15 August, 2001

The warmth of the sun on bare skin

Yesterday we began the journey South. First we flew by Herc from Summit to Kangerlussaug. The plane ride passed quickly as we flew by the beautiful mountains and glaciers of the coast. The pilots seemed to sense our excitement and took us on the scenic tour on our way down to the coast. When we landed in Kanger the smell of the tundra and ocean and the warmth of the sunlight were intoxicating. It felt so strange to be so close and yet a world away from the snow. We moved quickly to find shorts and t'shirts. The warmth of the sunlight on bare skin felt better than I can ever remember it.

Since it was still early, a few of us borrowed some bikes and took off for a ride to the harbor. It was a glorious afternoon as we flew down the highway, rolling up and down the tundra covered hills. It took about 45 minutes for Saskia, Markus, Manuel and I to reach the final hill top. As we crested the hill the view took my breath away... The sun was starting to set over the fjord, and a tour boat was parked a little ways off shore. In the distance were snow covered peaks. ( Unfortunately, I forgot my camera for this adventure)

We rolled down the last hill to the water's edge. I dipped my fingers in the water and thought, briefly, of taking a swim. We relaxed on the shore for a while and then began our trip back to town. This too was beautiful and fun for each hilltop brought a view of the glacier above. How strange to be on snow in the morning and in shorts on a bike in the afternoon.

Today we reloaded our bags and headed for Albany, my second stop on the journey home. This leg of the trip was much longer. First, we had mechanical delays that set us back an 3 extra hours. Then the plane had to be kept cold so that the ice and snow samples wouldn't melt. For over six hours we flew towards home. It wasn't long before everyone figured out that the warmest spots on the plane were on top of all the cargo. One by one people crawled out of their seats and on top of boxes to sleep. It was a very funny sight seeing everyone curled up in little balls on top of the cargo sleeping and reading.

Again warm soft air and sunshine greeted us in Albany. It feels like so long ago that we left the cold.

The mountains and sunshine.

The beautiful coastline bike route.

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