We are back in once piece. We have the data. We have the pictures and the videos. 31 days of adventure put our skills and resilience to the test. We rode whatever good weather we could find to minimize our flight risk. And enjoyed poutine varietals as we crossed Quebec first West to East, then South to North. From Kuujjuaq in Northern Quebec, we jumped to Nunavut‘s capital, Iqaluit, then to Qikiqtarjuaq, our furthest-out airstrip, north of the Arctic Circle.
Early sea ice melt closed the one easy access onto the Penny Ice Cap – Okoa Bay. We had to settle for a tough and unpredictable alternate – Coronation Fiord. Four days of scouting and of cache and carry took our patience and our raw strength to their limits. Our overall daily progress during those two days was… half a mile a day! At one point, we were ready to call it quits, but we gave it one final effort and found the way to the skiable part of Coronation Glacier – a highway to the Ice Cap. It was a happy endurance event after that, punctuated with science data collection sessions.
Our return was smooth and swift. Three days to the fiord, and two days flying from Qik all the way back to Boulder. Did I mention five days waiting in Qik for the icy fog to lift? The early sea ice melt saturated the atmosphere with moisture earlier than ever. It gave us more time to experience Qikiqtarjuaq and to talk with its people. We slipped through a short, sunny window and rode a high pressure for almost all of our 3000 mile flight back.