2 Feb. 2007: Anchorage: Musings on Clothes and Experience (H. Huntington

Having gotten past a major deadline and other obligations, I spent some time this week calling to a few of the villages we will be visiting, and also starting to get my clothing in order. The people I spoke with sounded interested in the trip, but also concerned to make sure that we understood some of the hazards of travel along rivers and through the mountains in their areas. This is understandable, since they would be the ones to come find us if we ran into trouble. I assured them that everyone else on the trip is experienced and reliable, and that we would be seeking local advice wherever possible. Fortunately, they didn't ask me how much snowmachining experience I have. Come to think of it, Matthew hasn't asked me that either, at least not directly.

As for clothing, I am now the proud owner of various bits of gear that promise to keep me warm and toasty, or at least reduce the risk of serious frost-bite. My No-Fog facemask may take a little getting used to, and I'll have to practice putting on and taking off all my gear so I'm not struggling each morning or every time I need to go to the bathroom on the trail. After a minute or two all suited up in the bedroom, I was uncomfortably hot, which I take as a good sign. I still felt I could move around, which was a pleasant surprise considering how bulky much of the clothing is. The kidney support belt was a little too small, though I don't feel like my waistline has expanded that much lately. I'll have to get a larger one and hope it still fits after the starvation diet Dan has planned for us. I'll take much of the clothing to the North Slope next week to try it out in actual winter conditions. With luck I won't be wanting to replace too much of it when I get back ...





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