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16 May 2012

Journey 2012-Part 1

Success. Safe home after a 710 km (470 mile) journey, tracts of which were made into another unexplored region in Greenland.

All that I wanted to accomplish during the journey was achieved quicker than the planned two months. I could not have wished for better conditions. It took a year to plan and prepare but my dogs made this journey look so easy.

The return home         Photo: Jennifer Elcomb
Success this year did not come easily. Breaking a rib on Boxing Day did not help. Nor did a spate of injured dogs after Christmas. Training and conditioning my dogs by the light of my headlamp throughout 24-hour darkness during the polar winter is never easy, and always dangerous. If that was not enough, bringing together all the intricate gear items, food and clothing needed to undertake such a journey is no mean feat in itself, especially when you consider where I live (Ittoqqortoormiit) and how remote it is.

Above everything else it is the attention to dog detail that results in successful journeys. Dogs require more than equipment, training and conditioning. Feeding, what to feed and timely rest periods are as high on my list of priorities as anything. At the end of Polar Lyon – Part 3 is a short film where you can experience my dog feeding routine. And of course there were the hours and hours of training runs such as the one seen in the video taken from my sled-mounted video camera. The crescendo of all this hard graft was the journey.

When we departed to begin the journey we also needed luck. We got it and grabbed it with white knuckled fists and worked even harder to make it work for us.

And King? Now all is right with his world. His vigil is over.

   King's vigil is over       Photo: Jennifer Elcomb
The journey's end brings huge relief. Prior to heading out for the second time (after the hiccup) I felt under enormous anxiety to pull-off what it was I wanted to achieve from this journey. On top of that I felt chased expecting ice conditions to worsen on our outward journey leaving us to return over god knows what. I carried this around for weeks but it soon became evident that conditions were in fact on our side and my dogs pulled off another great journey.

It has been a wonderful winter. No. It has been priceless.

Journey 2012 - Part 2 will follow soon.......

For more about Gary and his dogs go to www.garyrolfe.com


  1. Absolutely brilliant Gary. Great to hear the dogs and you two are back safe and sound and that you achieved everything you planned to and more. One hears of terrible things all the time - and it is so warming to heart to hear of a totally brilliant thing. Cant wait for the next blog. Take care, Greg.

  2. I'm so glad the trip has been successful. And that photo of you and King at the end - that's priceless too.

  3. Fantastic to read this Gary. Congrats on a successful trip and a safe return for you both. Look forward to seeing some footage! Cheers, Leander