Perched high above Nares Strait, we have literally dug ourselves in for the foreseeable forecasted future. Using paddles, an ice axe, and our hands, we have dug a platform for our tent directly below a rock outcrop on the top of a hill. Finally, my farming skills come in handy. We now lie comfortably in our vintage Mountain Hard Wear dome tent, in the only protected spot within sight. Out of the worst of the wind, we will sit here for days listening as sand and gravel spray the tent. At least we are well protected from the gale like conditions that persist outside. And at least the sun is shining!
“Arctic Jail” is what we are calling our aerie, our perch. One could not wish for a more beautiful campsite! But what are we to do for days when blizzard conditions persist outside? Sleep, eat, and sleep some more. My goal for the day was to wash my hands. Done. But to no avail. Everything is covered in grit. Everything. Leave a cup out for a minute and it will start to fill with sand.
This wind has driven the ice away to the Greenland side of the Strait, so now there is at least the possibility of kayaking again, that is, once the wind dies down, but the forecast shows no end in site. Until then, we wait, and mark the hours by small things – like the pancake breakfast Steve made for us in the tent this morning (actually 5:00 PM or so). Pretty good, but I still like oatmeal the best.
Because we are in such a protected spot, I am not scared, but in the back of my mind, I do wonder, will we get to Carl Ritter Bay in time for our pick-up? It is not that far away. But this journey is not in our control at all. The ‘typical’ weather of flat calm waters and clear blue skies is not happening. We have left the arena of “camping trip” and entered one of adventure.