What with getting Mikkey into shape before heading out, the last bit of kennel maintenance and painting felt like it was never going to end.
This was the last picture of Spank before a fight injury left him with a bent ear. The fallout was between him and Mikkey. Thankfully Mikkey didn’t go down lame.
Over the years I have become very confident cutting my own hair. Before the journey departure date I caught myself cutting my hair off in lumps using my shadow. No mirror. Not recommended. And talking of hair, I spent a lot of time grooming Spud’s coat this summer and he was beginning to look rather handsome.
For the first two weeks I was on foot alone with Mikkey on Jameson Land. Before heading out I prepared my food by using an Excalibur dehydrator from UK Juicers because, in my opinion, it is healthier and certainly cheaper than commercially made dry food touted as “expedition food”.
In Outdoor Designs dry bags I packed gear that included Rab’s Vapour-rise, a Neutrino down jacket, a silk sleeping bag liner and a Rab Ultra Bivi. And what did I pack for my hands? Outdoor Designs mckinley mountain gauntlets and a pair of mckinley mitts. As usual my last line of defence was an ACR personal location beacon.
For those two weeks Mikkey ran ahead, to the side but never behind. He always seemed to be intent on some mysterious business of his own. His ears were always alert. So was his nose ready for any disturbance that I might want warning about.
We crossed tundra.
And some even stranger before finding what I was looking for.
Which was? Fossilised trees. I found plenty. For years I’ve hated anything that mentions global bloody warming. What’s under Greenland’s Ice Cap? Islands that were once covered in trees. Greenland was once tropical and obviously a whole lot warmer than it is today. It is a rhythm, a phase that the planet passes through. It’s not as though the temperature change was the result of continental drift. Millions and millions of years ago Greenland was in the same place as it is today. It is about the most stable lump of rock in the world. Certainly Greenland is made up of the oldest rocks on earth.
By mid-August I was unexpectedly relayed a message asking me to protect and safeguard six geologists for three weeks from polar bears since earlier in the summer there was a scientist mauled in his tent by a polar bear and all research groups were on red alert. Here’s where my journey plan altered.
Before heading to my rendezvous with the geologists there were a few nights and plenty of driftwood to make a fire. Winter or summer I always carry a Primus lighter.
On our last night out alone I wrote Mikkey a poem:
My name is Mikkey and I have my own backpack,
Full of treats to get there and back.
I love to climb the valleys and splash across the rivers,
And run long and hard to dry and prevent the shivers.
Sometimes it’s just right to stop and stare,
And breathe huge lungs full of splendid Arctic air.
Everything is best about our long summer hikes,
But there’s always one thing above everything I really do like,
And that’s to make camp in the sun with a driftwood fire,
Thinking of these special times when life can’t get much higher.
The sun set around midnight.