After a very successful three weeks of work in northwestern Greenland, it was time for Everett and I to say goodbye to Thule. We shipped home boxes of rocks (which elicited several questions from the Air Force Post Office personnel), parted ways with our trusty Toyota Hilux (after a much-needed trip to the truck wash), said goodbye to the many friends we made during our stay on base, and boarded a New York Air National Guard LC-130 for our trip home.
A fun hike up Mt. Dundas on our last day in Thule. The sea ice finally broke up on July 15.
On our way up to Thule, we flew directly from the US with the Air Mobility Command. On the way home, however, we flew with the National Guard through Kangerlussuaq, where we had a two-night layover. Two very wonderful things happened during this trip home: first, I got to ride on the flight deck for my birthday; second, we met up with this year’s IGERT group in Kangerlussuaq.
The flight from Thule to Kangerlussuaq was spectacular. I immediately announced to the Air National Guard crew that it was my birthday (which it was), and was thrilled when I got an invitation to ride on the flight deck for the last ~45 minutes of the trip. We requested permission to fly line-of-sight, then dropped low into the fjord for an absolutely amazing ride. The views were incredible, and we even passed right above the heads of a big herd of musk ox. I have an excellent track record of scoring special flight privileges on my birthday in Greenland, and this was no exception. The six passengers in the cargo bay may have become slightly air sick, but it was a small price to pay for such a ride (easy for me to say!).
Flight deck of the LC-130 on the way from Thule to Kangerlussuaq. Best seat in the plane!
We were only in Kangerlussuaq for a day and a half, but it was wonderful to be reunited with friends from IGERT Cohort 4. Developing this extended family of scientists has been a huge benefit of participating in the IGERT program, and I can’t describe how happy I was to have my layover in Kangerlussuaq coincide with the 2013 field seminar. We celebrated my birthday in style with burritos and ice cream after we arrived, then filled the next day with a long hike and a celebratory dinner (since the IGERTs just completed a very productive stay at Summit!) at the only restaurant in town.
IGERTs hike down towards Lake Ferguson after a full day on the trail in Kangerlussuaq.
Thank you to Mary, Ross, Matt, and all of Cohort 4 for letting us finish our trip on such a high note and in such good company! Best of luck on the rest of your trip in Kangerlussuaq, Nuuk, and Ilulissat.