Camped on the U.S./Canada Border
23 March 2007
Camp 8 Location: 67 25'N 141 00'W directly on the U.S. Canada border
+2F -17C Wind and Blowing Snow
The SnowSTAR Expedition had another good run today up the frozen Porcupine River, making about 90 miles and arriving at the U.S./Canada Border at about 7:30 PM. Tonight they will spend their last night on U.S. soil (or ice!). Matthew said they were pitching their tents about 16 feet West of the dividing line between the two countries and from their camp they can see the one-hundred year old cut-line in the trees marking the border. The students in Mrs. Faulks Class tracking the expedition in Florida said that they really enjoyed the soundclips from the trail......Our Satellite phone connection cooperated long enough for Matthew to record a short Soundclip from Camp 8:
Click Here to Listen to Tonights Soundclip.
Sleds and Sled Covers
We have had lots of questions from classes about the colorful sleds being used by the expedition so I thought I would tell you a little bit about them. Each snowmobile is pulling two sleds. These are made of really thick, tough plastic. They are similar in design to a kids plastic toboggan sled except they are designed to carry very heavy loads. They have a little metal blade on the bottom that keeps them from sliding sideways. Each sled is 10 feet long. This kind of sled is called a "Siglin Sled" after the man who first designed them. These sleds are locally made here in Fairbanks by Northern Sled Works. This company makes several sled designs for all kinds of expedition travel in the Arctic and Antarctic. We use this design because it is durable, flexible, and pretty light weight. Empty, these sleds only weight about 55 pounds.
The colorful covers you have seen on some of the sleds are also cusom-made here in Fairbanks. The company that made these covers is called Apocalypse Design. They make all kinds extra-strong outdoor gear and parkas for dog mushers and mountain climbers. The covered sleds are used to hold all the soft or bulky gear that will not fit in boxes like tents, sleeping cots and sleeping bags. The covers help keep snow and slush from getting on this gear and keep it dry. The tall covered sled is called "The Office Sled" and it has a litle door in the back. The scientists can heat this sled and use it like a little office if they are using the computer or writing down measurments. It gives them a place to get out of the wind without setting up a tent. One person can also sleep in this sled. We wanted to make these covers really bright and colorful so the people at Apocalypse Design helped us make them fancy with flags and logos. Here are some sled pictures:
Enjoy, Dave Andersen, Fairbanks Base Camp