Little by little the Penny Ice Cap Expedition is taking over my mind and my time. Abstractions and generalities about a great adventure turn into a thousand details that matter. The easy details are taken care of, and the tough ones are now front and center, as the clock ticks away towards our scheduled take off: April 10, 1500 UTC.
In parallel, we build our support network. Patrick will handle emergency operations, were they to be needed. He will also channel social networking for Science in the Wild. Wendy is Master Nutritionist for the expedition; and will handle social networking for Boundless Focus. We are recruiting a weather person, to keep us aware of the meso-scale picture while on the ice cap.
As the date approaches and we figure out all of the equipment details, we are about to shift to mission simulations – on the ice, and in the air. We will simulate skiing on the ice cap; we will simulate roping and avoiding crevasses on glaciers; we will simulate setting up camp and making science measurements. We will simulate stowing our sleds and our equipment on the aircraft – and might discover they don’t fit!
The initial flight legs will ease us into expedition mode – from flying over the familiar, flat, and friendly plains of South and North Dakota, to the wilder, unsettled, and colder latitudes of Nunavut.