Winter is coming!
Tomorrow is the big day, and I must admit, the last 10 days have been pretty crazy ! Preparing 90 days of supply, cold weather, rbnb, renting a car, another rbnb, flights… In other words: eventful!
The Edmonton experience was original in itself: first steps ever on the American continent and facing a completely different type of city. As you might know, streets and avenues have numbers instead of names and every home address refers to a pretty logical geographical situation due to it’s street number. It actually made my wandering easier than looking for every street name on a map.
Conditioning the food on the other hand revealed itself less funny. Canadian customs restrict food imports and the first step was to buy precise goods in a precise quantity. The challenge isn’t to buy a certain kind of grocery but to buy the exact amount of calories as you planned it Less will undoubtedly generate problems during the expedition. Backcountry skiing in cold condition (average -30°C) requires about 5000 Kcal of food per day while a normal diet average around 2000 Kcal. The simple reason for such meals is not only the effort, but the need to fuel your personal radiator: the body. Lack of food will make you feel weak and worsen the cold feeling, while sufficient calories will enable you to heat up and recuperate.
The quest began and after a few days of solitary shopping I started packing. I weighted more than 3000 ingredients and packed more than 450 bags in less than 36 hours. Once again I underestimated the workload and I finished the 90 day rations just in time to rush to the airport.
The flight for Kugaaruk was spread on 24h, I naively thought I would be able to stay in Yellowknife airport between flights at night. The reality is you can’t, and you don’t mess with Canadian rules! A charming person named Laila asked if she could help me, took me home with my 160kg luggage, gave me a bed, fed me and dropped me back at the airport the next day. Being helped out like this is always overwhelming, thanks Laila!
I encountered Kugaaruk’s police officer Serge on the plane, and the next day we reviewed all security and safety measure regarding my departure. Serge and Nancy made an outstanding job at warning every concerned authority of my departure. They are pretty anxious about my solo winter Canada crossing and are worried both by the cold and by wildlife… I have to admit: it is my biggest challenge so far!
On my side, I’m excited and stressed at the same time! Nothing is acquired until achieved and I can’t predict how this adventure will evolve. However, I’m prepared, I got all the equipment, knowledge, will power, and faith in this project. More important, I know where I enter a danger situation and when it is time to stop, those two save your life more than you know. The Inuit world is harsh, the fact that they survived for centuries in these condition is outstanding! One thing is sure, I’ll discover very soon how I adapt to this unrealistic environment.
See you on the ice,