3 April 2007
Trail Day 19: The SnowSTAR Team departed De'line this morning and began what will be a several day crossing of the frozen Great Bear Lake. Their next possibility for gas and supplies is the town of Kugluktuk (Coppermine) on the Arctic Coast which is about 6 days travel and 520km away. This leg of the trip is actually their longest distance between supply points. Because of this, they are pulling sleds that are heavily loaded with fuel and it is critical that they make as few deviations from their route as possible to conserve gas. Tonight, under a brilliant full moon, from cozy Camp 19 on the ice of Great Bear Lake the guys sent the following soundclips and dispatch with stories and photos of the last few days--Our Satellite phone connection was a bit scratchy tonight.......the last 4 seconds of Matthews saying goodbye is missing:
Click here to hear Matthew talk about their tour of De'line
CHUGIAK STUDENTS: Click here for Weather in Espanol.
April 3 2007
Camp 19 Location: Great Bear Lake Ice 65 37'N 122 16'W
Distance Today: 70km (43miles)
Weather: Clear and Sunny with some wind, Temp -18C (0F)
Our April 1 Visit to Chief Albert Wright School in Tuli'ta
We arrived in Tulita quite late. It was dark already. The last 50
kilometers into town on the "ice road" were bad. The road was already
showing signs and spring, and instead of an ice road, it was a gravel road.
We had to drive along the edge where there was at least a little snow and
ice.but not much. Frozen ruts and rock made the driving hazardous and
trying. About 9:30 PM we arrived at the Mackenzie River. The Great Bear
River does not freeze in winter, or freezing just a little, so crossing it
is treacherous. Therefore the ice road makes a big loop out onto the
Mackenzie to circle into Tulita. In contrast to the "gravel ice road", the
road on the Mackenzie was as smooth as glass.
Mr. Tony Hurley, the 6th grade treacher, was our host at Chief Albert Wright
School. The motto of the school is ROCKS:
So you might say Chief Albert Wright students ROCK!
We slept in the 6th Grade classroom, then the next morning we worked with
all the kids in the school, telling them about our trip, about waves and
magnets, and about sampling snow. A few pictures from the school are
attached. A special thanks to Mr. Hurley and all the teachers at the school
who made us feel welcome. But special thanks to Blake, Cameron, Eric,
Kevin, Brent, Shania, Seanna, Rocky, Robert, Tamara, Ryan, George, Garret,
Garret, and Naomi in the 6th Grade class, who have been following our trip
On to De'line and the Great Bear Lake, April 2
Great Bear Lake is the 7th largest lake in the world. We knew we had
arrived at a different part of the Arctic about 7:30 PM last night. The
first clue was the Great Bear River. Unlike any other river we have seen
this trip (or ever in the Arctic), the Great Bear River was unfrozen. The
water was blue and steaming, running swiftly between snow-covered bluffs.
It is a big river, perhaps 200 m wide.
York boats used to be hauled up the river from the Mackenzie to Deline. The current looked so swift it is hard
to imagine how that was done. We know that the trip from Tulita to Deline
took about a week: we did it in 3 hours. Anyway, when we saw the Great
Bear River, we knew something different was near. Then we came around a
corner, and there, stretching as far away as we could see was Great Bear
Lake. An inland sea so vast, when out in the middle of it, you cannot see
the shore. The name comes from the shape of the lake: like the hide of a
skinned bear. Today we will head across the lake. We are all excited to
have gotten this far. But before we do that Leroy Andre, the president of
the Deline Lands Corporation, is going to give us a tour of his community.
How Exotic Are We?
We are now about 2000 km from where we started. We were wondering if people
would know about Fairbanks and Alaska. In the schools we have taken to
asking the kids whether they have traveled 1) to the nearest next town, 2)
to several towns away, 3) to Alaska and Fairbanks, and 4) to big cities
further south (like Edmonton). The answers have been surprising. Most
people and kids have been to the next town (not a surprise). Some have been
to a few towns away. Almost all have been to big cities in the south.
Relatively few have been to Alaska or Fairbanks, but of course, when we
arrived in Deline, one of the first people we met was wearing a ball cap
with Fairbanks Nanooks Hockey Team insignia on it. Conclusions? Stay