Monday, July 19, 2010
Nearly a year has passed since my last Arctic adventures. Samples and data collected last summer are still being analyzed, but some incredibly interesting results have been emerging, and I'm eager to explore some new areas and see what more can be learned about the evolution of the glaciated landscape and Arctic climate over the past few million years. On the other hand, I'd be lying if I said I didn't occasionally wake up with a start from a loud noise in the night, quickly recalling the terror of our multiple close encounters with polar bears last year.
In just a few short hours, I'll be on a plane heading to Ottawa, Iqaluit, and then Pond Inlet, and then after a couple weeks near there, back to Iqaluit and over to Qikiqtarjuaq. Our research team is larger this season, with some very diverse scientific goals. We'll also be armed with more guns, and when working in the region with the highest bear concentrations, several armed guards and a helicopter devoted to keeping us safe.
This month will also serve as my annual forced recovery period. It's not easy work, but it's certainly considerably different from cycling and running, so my body benefits hugely. We'll see how the mental side of things holds up...bike desire has always returned with a vengeance after a couple weeks.
As much as I love the experiences of field work in such a remote area and spending more time learning about, Inuit culture, I always feel guilty about missing a whole month of Colorado summer. Summer in the alpine country is so brief, it's a shame I only get to enjoy a sliver of it on either end of the field work. Hopefully there'll still be a solid chunk of summer left for me when I return.