Monday, April 22nd, 1985 (Day 5)

Arrival at Lake Hazen

My second roll of film is labeled "A". This was the roll I lost outside. I hope the film is OK. And now for the latest.

It is a little warmer this morning. The temperature is reading 23 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. As of this minute, we will attempt to depart Resolute for Lake Hazen at around 8:30 this morning. The weather is critical at both our refueling stop and our final destination. We have been told there are no bathrooms on the plane out of here to Hazen. Fortunately, we will be able to deplane at Eureka (for refueling) to do our business.

Last night, Bezal came over to show two reels of home movies. They were both fascinating. The wildlife in the north is beautiful. I do hope that we might get to see some polar bears, musk ox, arctic hare, and maybe an arctic fox.

The meal that we had last night was steak (absolutely delicious), baked potato with sour cream and bacos, corn (delicious), sauteed mushrooms, garlic bread, and my favorite - milk. And breakfasts are just as delicious. Any kind of egg you desire, bacon, sausage, potatoes (actually hash browns), toast, orange juice, milk, melon, cantaloupe, cereal, jellies and almost anything you want.

I had another hot shower this morning. This will probably be my last until next Saturday. A small price to pay for such an exciting adventure.

I wrote some post cards yesterday. I plan to bring them to Grise Fiord to mail them. That place is the northern-most mail station.

It is a very peculiar sensation I get when I look out the window of the dining room in Resolute and see mile after mile of cold snow and think that at this exact moment in time, people in Fishkill are walking across the parking lot in short sleeve shirts to get a cup of coffee and a bagel. If they could only experience the beauty of it all.

Several hours have passed since my last entry. The reason for this is because I am now at the Lake Hazen camp. I will try to recount every exciting minute that has happened. It is now 6:00 PM.

We received word at 7:30 AM this morning that weather at Eureka and at Lake Hazen was acceptable for take-off and landing. So it was only 25 minutes since my last log entry that Bezal picked us up at the Resolute "Hilton" and took us to the airport. We took everything we did not want to bring with us to a storage room at the hotel. We then loaded the vans and went to the airport. It was 8:30 AM when we lifted off.

The plane that we were in was called a Twin Otter. There were 15 of us packed in there like sardines. Refer to roll #3 for a picture of this.

A very funny comment came from Elsieanna when she said she didn't see her baggage being loaded or she didn't see it in the plane and that she wanted to see it "now". Pat and I assured her that it was on board.

The picture that I took had the following people seated in the following seats:

Airplane Layout
        Monty Matt Pilots
Frances Rogers Tom Largen Pat Largen Row 1
Will Savy Debbie (the cook) Bob Burns Row 2
Chuck Bergman Van Art Wolfe Row 3
Nigel Larn Earl Wilkinson Bob Kaller Row 4
Elsieanna Graff     Bob Antol Row 5
    Pat Sutherland     Row 6

The trip itself was relatively uneventful. Of course, the scenery was spectacular! Mile after mile of snow that did not get boring. We were flying over ice (water) and mountains. The terrain was so beautiful. But the fun was just beginning.

We had to land at Eureka for two reasons. First, we had to refuel. Second, we were leaving our two National Geographic gentlemen behind so they could do their article on wolves.

So while we were waiting for the plane to be refueled, we got the opportunity of a lifetime. We went over to the weather station riding in the back of a pickup truck (yes, it was cold!) so we could relieve ourselves. Then we all boarded one of two "bombardiers" (snow roving vehicles - see the pictures) and took a ride across the Slidre Fiord to an iceberg. It was pure beauty! The ride alone will be unforgettable. Riding across frozen water was more exciting than anything at Great Adventure. It was very bumpy and our "pilot" was really sailing. When we arrived at the berg, we got out and took pictures. I was running around like a little kid that just got away from his parents. I can't stress how beautiful it all was!

We then left the berg and drove out to the weather station dump. It was here that the two gentlemen from the National Geographic will spend the rest of the time writing their story on wolves.

Well, we were extremely lucky. I saw 5 wolves. I took several pictures. I hope one of the pictures turns out. I had the two National Geographic guys with their cameras studying the wolves who were in the background. Maybe I should send the picture to the Geographic so they can use it in their "On Assignment" section.

It was then time to re-board the plane so we could continue onto Hazen, land of perpetual sun.

Once again, an uneventful trip, but the scenery was gorgeous. We finally arrived at the base camp at Hazen. One of my pictures should show this from the air.

We had to hand carry the luggage from our landing spot up a hill to the camp and it was about 15 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Since I was so excited and energetic, I took 3 trips to unload and help out with the extra heavy baggage. I don't think that some people were expecting what they got into.

But too bad. I came here for the adventure and excitement. I knew this wasn't a fancy resort. I am having a blast!

Anyway, the best is yet to come. I chose a bunk to sleep on because I had advance knowledge of who slept in it last. The cook gave me the information. The bunk and sleeping bag that I am using was last used one month ago by Neil Armstrong, America's first man to set foot on the moon. Yes, both Neil and Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to conquer Mt. Everest, went to the North Pole one month ago. To imagine, Neil was walking around here just like I am right now enjoying the sites that I am seeing. (See the attached article on their trip.)

After I got settled, Pat and I went for a very long walk around the area. I cannot find the words to describe the sights I saw and the sounds I heard and didn't hear. Let me explain.

The snow has a very strange sound. When you walk across a drift, you hear a hollow sound. Because there was icing, packing, fluffing, more icing, more packing, more drifting and it all adds up to a hollow crunching sound. But not everywhere. Some of the snow is just plain deep. I would unexpectedly sink in a spot that was completely level with the surrounding area.

The silence of the area is what is really beautiful. There is no sound or sign of humanity. No people sounds. No car sounds. No plane sounds. No running water sounds. And today, there was not even the sound of wind. It was still and very, very quiet. You could not record this silence, because when you play it back, you would be around noise. It is totally unreal and beyond anything I've ever experienced.

Now back to the walk. There were tracks of animals everywhere. I saw both arctic hare tracks and lemming tracks. (When we were landing at Hazen, I saw 4 beautiful white arctic hares). Pat and I were looking for the hares but when we couldn't find them, we changed direction and climbed to the top of a hill where Bezal (in 1978) built a small monument. A funny incident happened on the way up the hill. Pat said her camera died. Batteries lose power in the cold. So I thought I would check my batteries by barely depressing the photo switch. Well, with my gloves on, I pressed too hard. The batteries were fine and the camera clicked. I think I have a blurry picture of a rock.

We eventually reached the summit. An interesting side note. My mustache was always freezing up. And I began to sweat because I was getting hot. Well, my eyebrows and eyelashes started to generate icicles. It was very bizarre.

The walk back was also very fun. Pat slid down one of the hills on her butt. It was very cute and funny. One of my pictures should show our tracks coming down the hill and one section of the tracks will have a slide pattern. Another picture to comment on. I took a picture of Tom and Pat Largen from very far away. I should find two bodies in a sea of snow.

There will also be 2 pictures of our guest book at Hazen. I am on one page. Neil Armstrong is on the previous page. I have loaded in the camera right now roll #4.

copyright (c) 1985, 2000 Robert A. Antol

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URL: file - polarDay5.html