“I think there’s room for one more bag here! Ohh, you have five more bags? Interesting… maybe you could stack that truck a little higher? Anyone have another rope? Where are the people going to sit?”
IGERT, it seems, does not travel light. Today we moved out to camp for our week long field component. Moving us and our gear to camp required 3 Toyota Hi Lux and one Ford F-350 pickups in caravan. For a week of camping, our gear pile was probably the most ridiculous I’ve ever seen. As much as I’d like to blame our heavy packing on the “IGIRLS” I’m ashamed to admit that my bag, secretly laden with cheese, chocolate, soups, garlic, and other such culinary luxuries, was probably the biggest of the lot. Actually it wasn’t personal gear that set us back so far though; doing an interdisciplinary science program meant having science equipment for 3 different projects along. Lake coring gear – 1 boat, 1 corer, 3 bags of rope, foot pumps, core tubes, toolkit etc… 1 truckload. Aquatic invertebrate sampling gear; nets, sample bottles, dataloggers, sorting pans, coolers and soil sampling gear: shovels, tee rods, carbon dioxide flux loggers, moisture meters, more dataloggers…. another truckload. Personal packs – 1 truckload. Tents, food, cookware, a fourth truckload. And so we were off, all in one trip thanks to the flexibility of our logistics providers at KISS, bouncing along the road in the rugged little Hi-Luxes, jealous that the U.S. does not allow such incredible little diesel pickups into our market.
We arrived at Sea Horse Pond, our pre-selected campsite, a bit after midday to begin setting up camp. In a couple of hours we had created a tent city, complete with kitchen, gathering tent, and latrine, on a nice, flat, but sandy area of the lakeshore which appeared to have been the bed of a deeper lake some years in the past. Level, soft ground in large enough quantity for an encampment like ours seemed to be in short supply, so it was actually a good campsite selection despite the terror of camping in sand. I should mention that probably no one else knows that the pond where we set up camp is called Sea Horse Pond, despite its vague resemblance of that marine creature on a map. Most of the features of the Greenlandic landscape in this area are either unnamed or at least not recorded on any of the maps we had. While this led to some entertaining discussions trying to decide what to name various places, places with competing or uncertain names became difficult to talk about. You know, the pond next to where the muskox were, below where we saw the duck, the one that we used to call Jerry’s pond but maybe that we should call Caribou pond.
I took a quick walk around after we finished setting up camp and found (much to my delight) that there were edible bolete mushrooms around in great quantities. I confirmed my ID with Simone, the superior mycologist of the group, who had made a similar ID the week before with glee. These firm, sweet mushrooms that have a warm, mouth filling flavor are a delicacy to be savored, particularly when sauté’d in little butter packets which snuck out of the kantina due to unknown forces. I quickly gathered enough to garnish dinner, and found a small caribou antler to add to my hat as camp flair before scuttling back to avoid the wrath of a worried Ross. I wouldn’t have wanted to destroy the mood by worrying Ross because this day is one of the most important on the calendar for him. August 1st is Jerry Garcia’s birthday, and to the devout Grateful Dead fans a very special day which required the playback of a show on the rocking Altoids box speakers as we prepared for bed. A quick treat of some sun rays and small rainbow over the ice closed the day nicely.