20 April 2007

The SnowSTAR crew managed almost 90 km today, mostly in whiteout conditions, and with Chris and Arvids doing snow science at regular intervals along the way. Matthew reported that they saw several groups of caribou today--one group with more than 50 animals in it. They were also surprised by several sections of open water on the Hanbury River. Camp 36 tonight is a weather observation cabin on Hoare Lake on the Hanbury River. The team was happy to see a few spruce trees at Hoare Lake......the first they have seen since leaving Great Bear Lake. Tomorrow they will enter what is know as the Thelon Oasis --a unique expanse of trees growing along a one hundred mile stretch of the Thelon River, far beyond the northern limit of trees. You will likely hear more about this fascinating place tomorrow. Tonights dispatch is on how the crew cooks and camps along the trail.

open water on the Hanbury

Click Here for a Soundclip From Arvids Silis

How We Camp

April 20, 2007. Hoare Lake, NWT

Camp 36 Location: 63º 35'N   105º 09'W

Todays Weather: Overcast and -7ºC

87.2 km covered today (54 miles)

Dispatch: CAMPING

It's cold, you're tired from a long day's travel, and now you have to camp
out. What can you do to make things as comfortable as possible?

Food: Eating enough food is critical at any time, but especially when your
body has to generate heat to stay warm. Good food also helps keep everyone
happy. We have a powerful stove, run on propane, that can melt snow and boil
water very quickly. This means we can get dinner and breakfast cooked in a
short time so we aren't waiting to be fed. Typically, we eat one-pot meals,
meaning that we put everything in one pot to cook. That makes cooking easy
and also reduces the number of dishes we have to use. Everyone just has one
big bowl or mug and a spoon. With a good assortment of spices and
flavorings, our meals are varied and tasty.  Glen and Henry have been the
chief cooks.  They have been pretty creative using Thai spices and nuts to
make some very fine meals. Strangely, all meals, though, are stews!

Shelter: When it's cold outside, you want to be warm inside. Our big tent
has a wood stove so that we can make it toasty warm inside while we eat our
meals, write dispatches, and so on. The tents also protect us from wind and
snow, although we try to set up camp out of the wind if at all possible. At
night, we let the wood fire go out. Our sleeping bags are very warm-some of
us use two bags for extra insulation-and we usually wear our hats to bed,
too. In the morning, someone (usually Jon) lights the fire again and when
the tent is warm, we get out of our bags and have breakfast.

Pitching In: Setting up camp, cooking meals, and other chores at the
campsite all take time and effort. An important part of a good group is that
everyone pitches in to help get things done. That way, no one person has to
do too much, and things get done much more quickly. Two people might set up
a tent while another person starts cooking. Someone else is getting
firewood, and the fifth person is working on the snowmachines or  busy with
another task. It's sometimes amazing how fast everything happens when
everyone helps!



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