Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The bubble

09/06 camp 45
Distance today: 143 km
Total distance: 4392 km
Position: 65.8510 N 41.9093, alt 2000 m
Hours kited: 7h30

Image: The sun once again touches the horizon. Today, we have crossed the polar circle. From now on there will be 'night', even though short, and likely with enough luminosity to stay out and use the coldest hours for kiting.

When looking at expedition images, people often spontaneously express their admiration and their desire to enjoy this incredible freedom and majestic scenery themselves. And when looking at the pictures, detached from their original context, choosing the right moments and the most suitable frame, I only can agree, what incredible opportunity we have, to realize our dreams.

Those perfect moments truly exist, and they are big part of the motivation to get ou there, over and over again.

But often, when I think back at the instant a photo was taken, or when I am again immersed in an expedition, I strangely get drawn into "the bubble". A small but strong prison of often ridiculous momentary constraints.
Wasn't this the day we wished to go further - but had to stop early? Why doesn't the other wait for me - I can't follow his pace? Why does the other lag behind - the going is excellent? I am cold - but dont want to stop the progression to cover myself. I would like to scratch my nose - but its covered by a full face mask and ski googles. Wouldn't it be more comfortable to tighten the ski boots a little? Shouldn't we change kite size before its difficult to take them down? Why does the hood of my jacket always slip off my helmet? If I dont close that tiny gap between the ski googles and the face mask soon, I may get frostbite. Couldn't the surface be a little more smooth?

As strange as it may sound, there is almost always a little something that is not quite right and distracts from the incredible pleasure such a trip can offer. Trapped in the bubble. Fotunately, we can have a look at the pictures later ...

After dinner and a few short hours of rest we headed out early to take advantage of the excellent conditions and to make good some more distance. After 15 enjoyable kilometers with the Beringer 8 m2 Skisail in the strong katabatics of the early morning, the wind eased and we switched to the Speed 4 10 m2. We quickly crossed the latitude of the 'saddle' separating the 'Summit' of the icecap from the 'South Dome'. In the beginning, the surface was again covered by sastrugis. After about 50 km, they gradually smoothened, and we were wondering wheter this is coincident with leaving the vast drainage basin funneling the katabatic winds towards Helheim Gletscher and Sermilik Fjord over a shallow ridge. NNE of Isortoq this ridge terminates in 'Greenspeed Ridge', starting point of many expeditions relying on helicopter logistics to access the icecap.

We are now far south, low in altitude, and late in the season. The temperatures have risen significantly, and the snow shows first slight indications of surface melt.

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