Man and His Dog Alone in the Arctic -E. 6 – Whiteout...

Man and His Dog Alone in the Arctic -E. 6 – Whiteout Conditions

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Bad weather was forecasted through my Garmin InReach and I started wilderness travelling in whiteout conditions.. My dog Buck and I planned to trek several towards Mt. Asgard this day. I waited in the emergency shelter until about 10am and, although visibility was low and it was snowing, it didn’t seem too bad. So, I ventured out into it. My plan was to trek 16 kilometres and before leaving, I explain my clothing system. Hanging my damp pair to dry out as much as possible and then putting it on each morning before I start moving – always keeping at least one pair of clothes dry.

In the morning, it can take my dog Buck a little while to get going at first. This has much to do with the fact that I always shoot a walk-away each morning. Buck knows that I’m going to come back for the camera and that he doesn’t have to walk out of necessity. Fortunately, he loves treats. And because he’s not coming of necessity, he sees coming as a trick, which he knows he gets treats for. Much like sit, paw, and rollover. Sometimes I wonder who is training who.

It was like travelling into an abyss many times. And, since there were no shadows it was hard to see the ridges in the snow in front of me. Fortunately, the weather stayed favourable and I got into a good patch of hard-packed snow which made walking a lot easier. Buck was doing great too but I kept worrying the weather would turn on us and I know it could.

Later into the evening, the flat-topped Mt. Asgard appeared out from the clouds in front of me and it was extremely impressive. Slowly, a soft, calm light began to break through the fog and the winds stayed down. It was incredibly beautiful and seemed as if I was walking through an Ice Age ferry tale.

Glare ice became an issue for Buck and when his sledge got hung op on an icy snowdrift, the ice in front of him gave him not traction and he couldn’t pull it off of the drift. He had a little fall and I dropped my pulk harness and went back to help him. What a good boy he is. As soon as I un-stuck his sledge he trotted along happily. After compleating about 16kms, we camped right before the largest uphill climb of our trek. The plan was to reach the height-of-land in the pass. The divide separates the waters of the Owl and Weasel Rivers which crate Akshayuk Pass.

Weather was perfect and deep, hard-packed snow conditions meant I could anchor my tent well. I mention how the spot I was in looks like it could kick up some serious winds and how because of that, I was particularly happy that the snow conditions allowed me to anchor my tent extra sturdily……little did I know at the time how key this would be.

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