Nansen

The days are getting longer and longer. Now nearing 18 hours of sun I’d guess. It’s been about zero degrees, but the wind is nasty and makes for bitter cold.

The snow is drifting up now not unlike a desert. The fine grains that I see going across the road look like sand, not snow flakes. The landscape looks like an ocean with 2 foot waves frozen in a picture.

I’ve been reading a book about the explorer Nansen, who tried for the North Pole in the late 1800’s. They went for years on their trek, with no cell phone, no GPS, no fiberglass or steel boat, and only a rudimentary early steam engine to supplement sail power. They made all their own stuff as they went, from Kayaks to skiis to sleeping bags to tents. They shot polar bears, and used the hides for shelter and sleeping. Who knows how to treat a hide these days for those kind of wares? Or who knows how to use a sextant to find latitude/longitude? Who even knows what a sextant is? I can’t imagine taking off on a trip like that today with all our modern products, and these guys did it routinely. It makes you wonder who would be left living in the event of a catostrophic event.

Life up here on the north slope is certainly the height of artificial. Few spend much time in the unheated out of doors, with most quick dashes from a warm building to the always idling vehicles. Some days I wish I could take off on a day long cross country ski excursion, but that would be frowned upon as unsafe – which of course it would be since I’m as soft as the next text messager.

Mark Stopha
Alaska Wild Salmon Company
4455 N. Douglas Hwy
Juneau, AK 99801
907-463-3115
www.GoodSalmon.com