Expedition day: 56
Position: N 80° 02′ W 086° 40′
Distance: 30.5 km / 19 mi
It has been another incredible day. We spent the day travelling down the river to make it out onto Eureka sound. It was a pretty interesting morning trying to get the sleds across the thawing river bed.
Before we left we had a wolf come into camp. It was great to see. Fearless and magestic. It howled its presence, most likely calling the rest of the pack.
For a long time there was more gravel and mud then snow. We tried to direct the dogs as best we could but much of the time we found ourselves getting stuck in big pools of mud. Within five minutes of setting off. Toby, who I was driving with got taken out by our dog South, and soon after I fell into a pool of mud.
As we moved further down the river we saw a herd of nine Muskox up on the bank beside us. Muskox Land is the name the people of northern Greenland, the Inguhuit, gave Ellesmere and I can now see why. Soon after that herd we came to another that was nineteen strong. They looked so grand with a backdrop of icebergs that filled Eureka Sound behind them.
After hitting Skraeling Point we came across some ruins of the winter houses that the Thule people lived in. The Thule came across to here from Alaska and were masters in the skill of whale hunting and flourished. When there was a small ice age and the whales moved south they struggled. Not much was left of the housing except for large rocks in a circular formation with lots of scattered bones. Skraeling is the name the northern settlers of Greenland gave the Inuit.
We are now settled in Eureka sound not far from Ellesmere. It has taken two months to get here and it will be a great feeling to step foot on its beautiful land. The area here is filled with wildlife and the spring thaw is bringing them out from hiding. I feel very lucky to be able to whitness it happen. Not long left now only five days left from tomorrow. Lots of comforts to look forward to but it will truly be sad to leave. The trail has been our home for a long time and it will be hard to adjust to life back home.
I hope that those of you who have followed our journey will be inspired to do something challenging in your own life that gives you a chance to really get a feel for this beautiful world we live in.
All the best from Falcon (Sam) …
The Thule Inuit:
Between 1000 and 1200 the Arctic climate went through a period of warming. This allowed for a greater number of large whales to migrate further north in the Arctic Ocean. At this time there was a group of Alaska-Inuit who had learned to hunt these whales from open skin boats, also called umiaks. These people, who later became known collectively as the Thule culture, then spread from Alaska across the Arctic and settled Ellesmere Island and the north Coast of Greenland around 900 years ago.
The ability of the Thule Inuit to hunt whales gave them a more secure and richer way of life than the Dorset Inuit. The Dorset Inuit disappeared from the High Arctic or where absorbed by the Thule-Inuit at this time. The Thule-Inuit were the first Inuit culture to meet Europeans. Norse Vikings had settled Greenland at the same time as the Thule and these groups traded and fought each other in northern Greenland until the Norse colonies disappeared in the late 15th Century.
View the Global Warming 101 Ellesmere Island Expedition map and follow their progress.
Map updated daily with new position.
This dispatch was created and posted using Dispatch 1.0 – an expedition dispatch software developed by The Will Steger Foundation and Global Warming 101 Expeditions.