There was a windchill of -50 that day, which we took to mean that it was the perfect day for a mid-winter hike over the frozen ice.
I love hiking. I will brave snarling baboons, crocodiles and lions simultaenously to go hiking through the African subsaharan landscape during the hottest part of the day. And I will brave blowing winds, freezing temperatures, and possible wolf encounters to go hiking through the Arctic landscape. It's all about being prepared and dressing properly for it.
photos by lori
Basically, "dressing properly" means dressing yourself up like Kenny from South Park.
The ocean ice at this time of the year was quite beautiful. Unlike my hikes from last March, the snow hasn't completely covered up the ice yet, so you can still see clearly how thick the ice is. The wind carves interesting patterns into the snow on the ice, and sometimes you can see fox paws frozen like a sculpture. No matter how harsh the environment gets up here, the Arctic world never ceases to be beautiful.
As I mentioned before, the sun doesn't rise above the horizon anymore, so at best we've got a couple hours of dusky light, a sort of perpetual sunrise/sunset before it becomes completely dark at night again. It means if you want to catchy any light at all, you gotta go out early during that narrow window of time...but it also means that the skyline is quite beautiful and full of bright colours for the short while that it isn't dark.
standing on Muskox Skull Island
It was pretty neat to walk over to the places that I had been kayaking to in the summer time. It took a lot less time, using my feet, but it was obviously a lot colder, so we had to keep moving.
the stone church
We visited the shipwrecks on foot. They looked far more surreal in the winter time, frozen in the ice, than the last time I had visited them by kayak in the summer.
The Maud shipwreck
The Maud was less spectacular to look at in the winter, since most of the shipwreck was frozen under the ice. But because we didn't have to navigate ourselves around it carefully in our kayaks, we could get a lot closer to it.
And of course, all the weird random stuff that was on the shore near the shipwrecks were still there, looking even more out of place and bizarre in the snow.
have a seat, make yourselves comfortable