Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

I awoke too late this morning. Rest is probably what I needed. The two bicycles are being used. Most of my fellow voyagers are shopping. C'est la vie. I had a hardy breakfast, showered (the world is thankful), and washed my clothes (more thanks). A couple of us are going to climb Black Ridge, and maybe beyond today. I am curious about the muskoxen numbers in the meadows. I would like to walk a bit farther. There is a distant hill I saw earlier in the trip on a previous walk up Black Ridge. I am going to aim for it. My hunch is that it will offer a better view of the ice sheet. Tomorrow, I will get up earlier to use one of the available bicycles and/or rent a bicycle to take up to the glacier. I understand the "seaside" community is not exactly as I heard about, and the road doesn't take you appreciably closer to the edge of the fjord. So, glacier bound I am! More to write later.

After lunch, I went to check on a bicycle rental. While standing outside the shop awaiting the return of the store clerk, I was chit-chatting with another visitor. He turned out to be a reporter for "Voice of America" (VOA). His plane to Summit Camp had been canceled because of another medivac situation. This one was an altitude-sickness-related problem. Apparently, it was a difficult situation. The word out is that the patient is back in Kanger and doing much better. I am so thankful that I was not altitude-affected, and that Tyler (Summit's medic) is so capable, and has adequate equipment, and materials, as well as the necessary support to deal with a potentially life-threatening situation. Regardless, the reporter asked if he could interview me. I said yes. On video, we discussed climate change, how I got to go on this trip, what I was doing at Summit, and what I wanted students to gain from my experience. I had the opportunity to mention Lakeside High School. He said the interview would be aired next week. Who knows, maybe I'll become the next big media star? Gosh, then I will have to worry about my haircut, my clothing, etc. Perhaps, I should retain an agent, a publicist, an accountant, and a lawyer. In which order should I hire them? I will stop now. The reporter's name is Kane R. Farabaugh and VOA's website is

After the interview, we walked up Black Ridge, and much further. I wanted to see more of the distant (25 kilometers; about 17 miles) ice field. While up on the peak, a reporter from an Albany, NY newspaper drove up, and (you guessed it!) we were chit-chatting. I was interviewed again prompting me to yet again to worry about haircut, clothing, etc. I believe the Newspaper is the Albany Times-Union. It was basically the same set of question. Again, I mentioned Lakeside High School. The walk was somewhat strenuous, but well worth it. It was cool, moderately overcast, and breezy. There was a good view of the icefield, and the ice-edge-defining glaciers. In the opposite direction, I could see the coastal mountains heavily-laden with glaciers. All around me, I could see and touch massive boulders indicating that during the last ice age, glaciers towered over even the hills or small mountains we were walking on. I took many pictures (Unfortunately, I will have to upload them from home.) of the vast-openness of the country, the ice field/glaciers, and closeups of the biota. Insects are starting to appear including black flies, mosquitoes, and moths or butterflies, but the wind was strong and I didn't get bitten. Unfortunately, I didn't see any caribou or muskoxen. I hope to see both tomorrow. By the way, I have not seen a single tree in Greenland. Climate dictates that the vegetation is low-growing, and slow-growing. The tundra is dominated by lichens, mosses, grasses, and stunted-bushes. The rapidly greening vegetation signals the bountiful time of year. Small, beautiful flowers are appearing. After solstice tomorrow, the daylight hours will begin to diminish, and after a brief month of relative warmth, nature's creatures will begin to prepare for winter. However, until then, Greenland is awash with life, and its rivers scour and carve rock with an ever-increasing, sediment-laden volume of water.

All meals were good today. The workers at the cafeteria know my name, and I know their names too. I feel as if I am living in a "Cheers" episode. It is really quite nice. They are great people. I really can't properly express how rewarding it is to have met so many wonderful, kind, and talented people. I am thankful and lucky. With that being said, signs, if present, are in Danish or Greenlander. So, I am not always sure what is offered at mealtime. I have to be careful because I don't eat red meat. Today, I mistook sauce for a soup. The giveaway for my ignorance was the size of my bowl, and the completeness with which I filled it. I took good bit of good-natured teasing about it from the staff. Actually, in the end, I dipped my boiled potatoes, and bread in the remains of the sauce. It was creamy, and had some chopped green vegetable or spice in it. It was tasty! I think it should be a soup.

I am tired now. Please forgive any incorrect spellings. Except for my actual typing, everything else is in Danish, and I can't figure out how to change things to English. So, even things like spell-check is a bit difficult.

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