19 May 2008
Polar Bears, Dog Sleds, Rifles, Oh My
(Sorry, no Polar Bears yet >_>. I just needed something for the titles =P)
(Monday, May 19 21:15) Sleepy, Wanting
Wanting. That’s an interesting feeling. I think that I would like more hours tonight. I know that I have to go to bed soon if there is any chance of me waking up tomorrow morning refreshed and ready for a huge trek. Tomorrow I’m joining a group to take a snowmobile trip across Svalbard to the east shore. I’ve never driven a snowmobile before so this should be quite an experience. Anyways, I want to stay up later tonight blogging and transferring photos and videos and even some coding, but alas, I have time for one of those. And so blogging will have to do. I’m sleepy because I’m still a bit disoriented from the constant daylight – it’s still bright outside. But now I’ve pulled across the blackout curtains and everything is much darker, meaning my body is actually telling me that it’s time to go to sleep.
So today, you’re wondering what happened? After a relaxing morning that consisted of breakfast, computer time, two naps and a shower, I took a walk down the main street of Longyearbyen (Main Street, ha.. ha.. ) to see what was happening. I brought the incorrect cable for the video camera (to let it connect to the computer) so I went exploring and did find the correct one here! It was expensive, but I figured that it was better than not being able to view and edit video.
At 15:30 we set off to go dog sledding. Wow, what an experience. We went in partners, and each team managed six dogs for an hour and a half. The entire experience took almost four hours including the drive, setup and at the end take down. The sleds seemed quite tippy – and we managed to fall over a whopping three times. Although, if I can shift the blame, two were the fault of the dogs. Out of nowhere they decided to make a sudden 90 degree left turn. Although we were able to handle that we were not able to handle the sudden 180 back that happened a few moments later. The dogs did this twice. Although, I bet that much of our troubles could have been helped by having more experience or taking it slower. The only control we had over the dogs was this small measly brake that was on the back of the dog sled. I couldn’t ell them to turn left, right, anything. I could kind of get them to start by saying “Mush!” or something loud and boisterous that had a similar effect. But that didn’t even do it sometimes. The cliffs and mountains here are amazing. They remind me of the eiger that I saw when watching the IMAX of the Alps during my Wilderness First Responder course. Of course, not as steep and not as gigantic, but they were pretty cool nevertheless. <I’m getting sleepy so this will end sort of quickly>. Our guide was a twenty-something woman who was studying at the university. She carried a rifle with her. Speaking of rifles, we also saw someone walk into the hotel with one. Back to the dogs. There were 5 dog sled teams in total, each with two people. All in all it was pretty crazy and lots of fun.
I’m out for now. I haven’t forgotten about the 17th. I’ve got a draft written, it’ll go up later.