26 January 2007-Fairbanks, Toronto, Anchorage, Ft. Collins

Getting ready for an expedition is an exercise in multi-tasking. It sometimes seems like the many little projects and tasks being worked on have nothing to do with each other, though in the end they all contribute to a successful endeavor. I thought it would be fun to just list what is in the woks right now:

Matthew: Just finished making the boot friction experiment and will try it with a 2nd grade class at Weller Elementary. Doing a lot of equipment purchasing just now: laptops, snowmobile spare parts, microscopes, thermos, etc. Also working on rebuilding the snowpit kits for the expedition. The picture below shows some of the gear that has to pack into a snowpit kit.

Jon: Constructing the covered sled, the Arctic Exploratorium sled. This will house the science experiments for the kids, as well as serve as a mobile office during the trip.

Glen: He is off making snow depth measurements in Colorado, but will shortly be making light but tough boxes out of wood that mount on the backs of the snowmobiles. These will be where we put the clothes that we need during the day while traveling, as well as thermos and lunch food.

Dan: He is working on getting magnets for a special experiment (eddy magnetic currents) that I can’t fully explain because it will take the surprise away. Also, he is trying to find a source for just the right Bunsen Burner for a second experiment.
Henry: He is been contacting the First Nation councils in villages to be sure we meet all of the permit rules and also so we understand the proper courtesies when we travel through other peoples lands.

Dave: He has been trying to get a definitive list of all the schools participating in the traverse, which is of course, impossible. It is a moving target. The latest count is 34 classes tracking us. .

Chris and Arvids: They have been busy buying snowmobiles and getting set to take a survival course. See Chris’ comments below.

From Toronto: We received some positive news from Bombardier yesterday – our two new Skandic WT snowmobiles should be arriving in Yellowknife next week. It’s unfortunate that we will not have the opportunity to break them in a little bit before the field season at Daring Lake. (Those of us in Toronto are jealous of the fine sledding conditions our colleagues in Fairbanks have been enjoying!) We will need to rely on some colleagues in Yellowknife who will check out the new machines and take them on a few test drives. We will then transfer the snowmobiles from Yellowknife to Daring Lake by a Twin Otter airplane in early April.

Plans are also falling into place for Arvids and I to participate in an Arctic wilderness survival course in Puvirnituq, Nunavik, Quebec in early March. The course was arranged through the Nunavik Arctic Survival Training Center (www.nastc.ca), and will be taught by Inuit elders. Puvirnituq is north of the treeline on the east coast of Hudson Bay, and should offer some relatively harsh conditions during the course. We’re very excited about this opportunity and will provide more details and photos as things develop





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