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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tonight's the night!

Well, the igloo was finished today and tonight I'm sleeping in it! I'm really nervous!!! It may be the coldest night of my life! :) The way an igloo is built is quite fascinating! It is truly an amazing design... something we should get the physics teachers to build in class! It's all about angles and pressure. Anyway, we are not skilled Inuits, so ours is not quite airtight. It may be a drafty night! We will put caribou skins on the floor to act as insulation, of course topped with the modern technology of a thermarest! :) Three of us will fit in there at a time. Many people in our group wanted to sleep in the igloo, but not on the first night. So, I'm being a brave (did I mention I'm nervous?) first volunteer. If you don't hear from me again, it's been great knowing you...

Today I felt like I really experieced the Sub-Arctic! This morning was a typical morning of snow pits and coring, followed by lunch back at the research center. The only excitement of the morning was when Pete, who was driving the snowmobile that was towing my qamatuk (box) today, drove 60 km/hour! It was quite a ride!!! This afternoon was a different story, however. The wind that I've heard so much about started to blow. When we went out to sample, it was -42 with the wind chill. NEGATIVE FORTY TWO!!! Holy moley! Not an inch of skin could be exposed. You could almost lean back into the wind and it would hold you up. It erased our footprints from behind us and stole our body heat. The tundra snow was carved by the wind. In some places it looked like a storm swept ocean. In others, like rock carved by wind...the kind you might see in Utah. Other places had hard sculptures that looked exactly like waves. The interesting thing to me, which is rather counterintuitive, is that the snow "waves" form facing into the wind rather than away.

Last night we had a little viewing of the aurora borealis. Here is my first photo attempt. I have to play with the settings a bit, which was impossible to do in the dark with my three pairs of mittens on, but it didn't turn out too badly. I had my camera on a tripod, but was trying to hold a heat pack on the battery to keep it from freezing. I think next time I need to keep my hands off of it so that I don't wiggle the camera. Live and learn...

Stay warm tonight and think of me! :)


At February 22, 2009 at 8:53 PM , Anonymous Tyler Manley said...

How fun! you were able to spend the night in an Igloo, I've always wanted to do that. I hope you're having a great time in the snow!


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