June weather in May
Published on 23.05.2008 - 2008 Ellesmere Island Expedition
As they near the end of their adventure (finishing at the Eureka base), the members of the Steger GlobalWarming101.com expedition are experiencing climate warming first-hand and discovering some of the most grandiose scenery anywhere...
Open up the attached map and you'll find that the six members of the expedition have changed direction and are now heading south (towards the Eureka base). It was in fact on 15th May that they began their journey back.
That was when they started heading towards the west coast of Ellesmere Island (one of the aims of their expedition), following in the steps of the great explorers - Otto Sverdrup in particular, who was one of Fridtjof Nansen's right-hand men Ãâ who first discovered these remote and inhospitable regions over a century ago.
Inhospitable, not for everyone. These far-off regions on the borders of the earth are inhabited by musk ox, wolves, foxes and Arctic hares. It does not surprise us that these wild lands are breathtakingly beautiful.
The programme for the tail-end of the expedition (Eureka is only ten days or so away) has included an encounter with the herds of musk ox and listening to the wolves howl at night (you can almost imagine it like the setting for a film). But what has struck these young adventurers more than anything else is the fact that they are out in the wilderness amid amazing untouched landscapes of virgin snow and ice, which in itself is totally unusual for this time of the year. All of which prompted Ben Horton, who was the last to arrive, to write on 18th May, "We are experiencing June weather in May". And seeing these climate upheavals first-hand for themselves is precisely what they came for!
The story of these final days of the expedition has also been dotted with some interesting geopolitical asides, with the authors explaining how and when Ellesmere Island came to be "populated", and which areas are still inhabited by the Canadian Inuit.