WE ARE IN!
May 15th – FIRST DAY ON TERRAIN.
Geoff and I were up early, very excited about the clear-sky forecast we received yesterday evening. It seemed the rest of Narsarsuaq wasn’t quite as enthusiastic about getting up on a Sunday morning though! We scoffed down breakfast as fast as they could make it, then slurped down a coffee and we were away.
The hotel’s courtesy car scheduled to take us, along with all of our gear to the heli hanger had broken down, but nothing could crush our spirits today! We cheerfully began shuttling a few bags at a time down the street toward the airport. As soon as the doors of the airport hanger were opened, we went into a frenzy of tossing gear into the various storage pods of the helicopter as well as spreading out the cargo net that would be used to “sling” our sleds beneath the chopper onto the terrain. (The sleds were too long to fit inside the cabin.)
Packed up. Go time. Geoff and I sat patiently waiting and looking in earnest to Marco to see when he would give us “the nod” to load in and fly out. The expressions on our faces must have been priceless. With a quick phone call to the control tower our pilot politely petitioned them for an early mark, to which they obliged. “Thunderbirds are go!” (I thought in my head.)
After so many embargoed days with unfavourable weather, treading my first step on the terrain was a surreal experience. I had missed the crisp crunch of boots on fresh snow. The official start of our journey home!
We unpacked our gear, received our “slung” sleds and then farewelled Marco, our pilot as the humming of the chopper dissipated into the distance. It's just us now, in an endless white desert.
After about 3.5hrs man-hauling (no wind around) we’ve made a whopping 3.74km into our journey before re-fuelling in our cosy little tent. It’s a game of chess now, waiting for wind, knowing when to push, rest and focus on maintaining morale.