Daily Log - April 18, 1998
(Advance Preparations)

The purpose of this page is to provide some insight into the gear, packing and preparations preceding our trip. This information has been provided by the team leader, John Harrington. If you have further questions, we invite you to contact us.


It is important that the layer of clothing next to the skin (underwear and socks) be what they call "wicking". The material is such that it acts as a "wick" to take moisture away from the skin to keep us dry and thereby warmer. For socks I will be wearing 100% polypropylene liners. I will use regular hiking socks over top of these. My long underwear is two piece - both of them 100% polyester made for Mountain Equipment Co-op. My next layer is fleece; the jacket is "Polartec" and is nice enough to wear as a mid weight jacket if it is warm enough outside. I also have a pair of Fleece "Trek Tights" to keep my legs warm. The body moisture will be carried by the wicking underclothes and socks to the fleece - it will be important to try and dry out the fleece at the end of each day.

On top of all this are the outer clothes. For my legs I am using a pair of wind proof ski pants that my brother -in - law Bert was kind enough to donate. My jacket is a goose down parka. My hand covering is in three layers. The first layer is (you guessed it) a wicking glove of 96% polyester and 4% Lycra. It has rubber grips attached to the fingers and palms to assist in gripping things when the other layers are removed. Sorel logoOver the gloves I will wear a pair of fleece mitts. On top of this a large waterproof and windproof outer mitt.

Our boots are amazing - the best possible- compliments of Kaufman Footwear. They are Sorel Glacier boots rated for minus 74 degrees Celcius. The inner boot is designed to wick away the moisture - the Kaufman people were kind enough to give us an extra pair of inners for each pair of boots. This way we can rotate them - one pair is drying while we use the other pair. The outer boot has a natural rubber bottom and a water resistant nylon upper (colour black).


This is our lifeline. Baka Communications has provided us with a phone each of the last three years. It was a relief to get it in my hands as it is our only way of communicating with the outside world. This way we can keep our web page updated - it also allows us to call for help in an emergency. It weighs 27 pounds and is worth every ounce although it does get heavy on long treks. It looks like a small suitcase - when you open it the lid contains a dish that must be focused on a staionary satellite over the equator. (A meter inside tells you when you have found the satellite). After that it is simply a matter of dialing the number of the person you are wanting to talk to. I spoke to my wife who was visiting her sister in California while I was at Franklin Point. Thanks to John Marion of Baka Communications in Toronto and Mississauga for providing the equipment.


We will be in Polar Bear country. We have never seen a live Polar Bear on any of our previous five trips. John MacDonald is anxious to see one - I would rather not. We have seen bear droppings not far from one of our camps in 1996 - we also saw what appeared to be bear paw prints nearby at that time. We have also come across several bear skeletons over the years - so we know we are in bear country. The gun is simply for our personal protection should we not be able to chase a bear away with rocks. I am thankful to my good friend Les Penzvalto for lending me his .303 rifle. we will be taking 220 grain bullets with us.


Every year I produce a book filled with sketches and notes - this is done in diary form on a daily basis. In the past I have used ink for the sketches and the narration. Cold weather may cause my pens to freeze so I will take some pencils along just in case.


Food is a challenge every year - this year is no different. Weight is always a problem although this year we plan to do day hikes out of a base camp. Summer hiking in the arctic can experience warm weather (as last year) which strangely enough presents a spoilage problem should we take any perishables along. Cold weather camping, on the other hand, means everything will be frozen solid. I am tempted to take some canned goods for variety but I am afraid the cans will burst with the cold. (did Franklin's men experience this?) We are in the final stages of discussion in this regard. My wife Fran is going to make some of her world famous chilli and put it in freezer bags (and prefreeze it) for two evenings of meals. I will check with John MacDonald and Derek Smith (both of whom are great cooks) to see if they will do likewise. That will be our main meals looked after. For breakfast we will take instant porridge along. It gets pretty repulsive on a three week trip but one week should be OK. That just leaves lunch. Soup and bread will likely do each day.

All of the meals depend on our Coleman propane stove doing the job for us. Propane does not work at 40 below - I am banking on it being warmer than that. (Cambridge Bay was only 8 below today - not bad!!) There have been occassions when severe weather has had us hunkering down in our tent for a day or two - and that was in the summer!! On those days it is impossible to cook safely - we dont wants the walls of our kitchen tent coming down on the stove. I will take some power bars along just in case - they provide nutients in the form of a candy bar.


I have been out and about getting such things as batteries for the camera and GPS; film for the camera. I picked up copies of last years diary from the bookbinder to give to last year's sponsors. I am also checking out all of our gear to make sure that no poles are missing from the tents, that the sleeping bags are clean (I rushed them over to the cleaners yesterday), that the stoves work and that everything will be in perfect condition because once you get there - there are no corner stores to run to!

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