Camped on the Arctic Circle

The Expedition made about 50 miles today and managed to do their first snow science experiments while traveling down the frozen Yukon River. Here is the crew dispatch recieved by satellite phone this evening, Tuesday March 20, 2007:

20 March 2007

Camp 5 : 66º32'N  145º12'W

Pretty much right on the Arctic Circle!

Outskirts of Fort Yukon

Slightly warmer this morning, at -30ºF (-34ºC), but clear and beautiful. We
continued down the Yukon, following the trail through narrow side channels,
out onto the broad river, and back again. Lots of animal tracks-Jon even
found a hare's foot to install on his sled for luck!

Today was also the first day for snow science (see pictures). Matthew, Glen,
and Henry dug a snow pit, collecting samples and measuring depth and snow
characteristics. The samples were for soot, to see if pollution from big
cities and factories reaches this far, and for mercury, to learn more about
how this heavy metal accumulates in snow around the Arctic. The snow was 13
inches (32 cm) deep, with a thin layer of very fine crystals on top and
large crystals underneath. Very crumbly snow, so no good for snowballs,

The river was very interesting, with so many channels and lots of levels of
ice from the various times the ice froze during fall. First, the side
channels would freeze, then the water level would drop, then larger channels
would freeze, and so on. There were still a few places with open water,
steam rising into the cold, calm air. The snow was nice and soft for riding
on, but when we crossed the rough ice in the main channels, it was a
different story.

We are camped just about on the Arctic Circle, which is pretty cool. Fort
Yukon is just ahead, and we will go there first thing in the morning to
visit the school and get gas and directions for the next portion of the



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