Thursday, 10 April 2014

Camp life

The camp itself was very well equipped. Marc and Petter did a great job taking care of us. There was always hot water for drinks and the food was really good considering it all came dried out of bags! When everyone got crowded into the domed mess tent it got really steamy from all the food, hot drinks and our frozen clothing. One downside was that it wasn't possible to dry or defrost clothing - Scarves and balaclavas got really soaked (and frozen solid) from breathing, and after a few days the inside of boots started to get a little damp as well – not good for cold toes (or trench foot!) Here's a picture of the camp. You can see the small sleeping tents on the left, the workshop tent in the middle where we could store equipment and briefly escape the wind, and the mess tent on the right:

And here we all are getting cosy in the mess tent for our evening meal:

By far the worst part of the camp was sleeping. The sleeping tents weren’t heated so getting into the multiple sleeping bags was really unpleasant! I slept with my face totally covered up by a neck scarf and a hat pulled over my eyes. This was great for keeping my face warm but they got totally frozen up on the outside from breathing and then froze to the top of the sleeping bag. The only thing more unpleasant than getting into bed was getting out again the following morning. After you’ve managed to get your face unstuck you have to crawl out of your multiple sleeping bags into a freezing tent to get dressed. Over night your warm breath freezes to the tent, so by the morning the inside of the tent is covered in snow, and if you knock it at all you get snowed on! But it was certainly an experience and we'd both do it all over again! The tents looked especially uninviting after the bad weather:

One night it was hard to get to sleep for another reason – we could hear the ice creaking and groaning. The thought of a crack opening up close to the tent was a little worrying, but highly unlikely (we think)! Marc and Petter surrounded the tents with a trip wire for bears and there were 2 guns on site. Whilst we were out we tried to keep looking around every few minutes in case we were being approached or stalked by a bear. As Marc remarked, if you’re digging a snow pit, wearing a black down jacket, to a bear you look a lot like a seal coming up for air.

We had a small loo tent, which was a relief, in particular for Rachel! Here’s a pretty awesome polar potty sunset pic:

1 comment:

  1. Ok so my bike packing around french campsites suddenly sounds quite easy!