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 Q&A

Team Arctic Transect 2004 has over 60 years and 70,000 miles of mushing and Arctic travel under their collective belts. With all that experience, they should be able to answer just about any question you can throw their way. Once a week, team members will try to provide the answers that you need to know.

Here is what you do: Send an email to questions@polarhusky.com, the following Friday, questions received prior to Wednesday will be answered - right here on the Q & A pages!

Have you seen a polar bear?

Many of you have been asking this for weeks, if not months. Well, we can finally say yes to that question. Not only did we see a polar bear, but it was only a few strides from our tent! Find the trail report (week 17) to read more, and investigate the Polar Bear Alert (with a map at your side) to understand why we have not seen one until now.

What kind of skis are your using? Are they like heavy duty mountaineering skis? Do you have special boots to ski in, or are your bindings set up to work with the mukluks? How about waxing...do you have to wax 'em up or do you use climbing skins?

Our skis are indispensable in getting us from one place to another -- and keeping up with the dogs in the deep snow. They aren't heavy duty mountaineering skis, and yet they aren't flimsy, either. They are shaped much like a telemark ski, providing rigidity and, hence, stability. Much like the skis keep us moving, our mukluks keep us warm. So, we have special bindings on the skis, perfect for the foot of a mukluk. As for waxing...it wouldn't be much use on the trail. A frozen wax is useless. We don't use climbing skins but rather fishscales. The middle of the base of each ski is not smooth like the rest of the ski. It is rough, marred with little indentations, allowing us to get traction when we need it most.

How much food do you have left for you and the dogs?

For now, we have enough food (for us and the dogs) to get safely to Igloolik. There we have supplies waiting for us so that we can reload the sled and continue on -- all the way to Pangnirtung.

Nome hitch and fan hitch are two ways to pull the sled. Which hitch do you use most of the time?

Indeed, these two types are the most common methods of hitching a team of dogs to a sled. The dogs in a fan hitch are not in line, but rather tied individually to the sled, making an arc in front of the sled, like a fan. The Nome hitch, on the other hand, consists of one main line connected to the sled and smaller lines -- from the main line -- leading to the dogs. Sometimes the nome hitch consists of a single-file line of dogs from the sled, and sometimes they are paired in twos or threes. Rough terrain and narrow trails are much easier to navigate with the nome hitch, keeping one or two dogs in the lead (rather than all). Our Polar Huskies are typically paired, pulling the sleds in a nome style. [Click on the link below for some great photos of the fan hitch and compare to weekly photos of the team: http://www.sleddogcentral.com/inuit.htm]

What do you do when the ice cracks and you're surrounded by water?

It's a dangerous situation and one in which we never hope to find ourselves. We do our research before we set out on the ice, using maps, assessing currents, talking to Elders and hunters who know and understand the land and sea, and, of course, our common sense.

What do you do when your dog food is all gone and your own food is gone?

When all of the food is gone, we hope to be in Pangurtung. But until then, we've got six months worth of food waiting for us in communities along the trail. See the question below about our food-packing and resupply.

Where do you stay when you travel?

We don't seek refuge from the whipping winds in plush hotels with fresh towels! For six months on the trail, we call three tents -- two of us in each -- home. When we're stopped in a community along the way, we stay in everything from hotels (not the fancy kind) to teacher's homes or the homes of Inuit Elders.

Is there much tourism in Nunavut?

Actually, there is. We recently linked the Nunavut Tourism website to ours. You can also visit them directly at http://www.nunavuttourism.com. This site has some great potographs and also more information on Inuit culture, fishing and hunting opportunities, as well as a trip planning guide -- all to help your "Arctic travel dream come alive!"

How and when are supplies replenished? I'm sure they could not have taken seven months of supplies along.

You're right. Seven months worth of food supplies would be far too much to carry. Before setting out on the trail, we boxed up months worth of food and divided it amongst the communities where we would be stopping. We then shipped the boxes -- 70 of them -- to Canada (for a mere $7,400 Canadian dollars). From the communities, some of these boxes, as well as hundreds of pounds of dog food and any necessary supplies are flown out to drop points along the trail. Using GPS coordinates, we can find exactly where the supplies landed and reload the sleds!

Do you brush your teeth? If you do, does the toothpaste freeze?

We're not always the cleanest, and we don't always smell the best, but we do brush our teeth. Our toothpaste, like everything else, freezes...but it also thaws. If we set it by the stove in the evening or keep it close to our bodies, it will eventually thaw enough for us to squeeze it out onto that brush!

How many different pairs of socks, pants, shirts,and sweatshirts do you keep with you? How do you wash them?

You can't smell us from there, can you? Believe it or not, we haven't exactly washed our clothes since Baker Lake. In order for us to wash anything out on the trail, we have to melt enough snow to add the soap and then enough water to rinse things thouroughly. It's simply too much work and consumes too much fuel. So we wear the same things everyday. Depending on how warm or cold it is, we may have as many as six or seven layers just on our upper-bodies. We layer numerous pairs of pants and shirts -- I don't know how many -- but each one of us has to fit all of our clothing into one duffel bag!

How do you keep the dogs' paws from freezing?

Polar Huskies are bred for the cold. They have enough fur on their feet to keep their paws from freezing. When snow and ice jams itself in between the pads of the paws, they use their teeth to extract it!

Is it possible to travel in the summer to Baker Lake or to anywhere in Nunavut by car, or is it only accessible by plane?

This answer was provided by our friend and contact in Baker Lake, Orin Durey: "Nope, can't drive here no matter what the season. In fact, can't drive to 'anywhere' in the whole territory of Nunavut, as has been written in many webpages about the territory. The closest you can drive is Gillam, Manitoba, where you get on the train to Churchill, Manitoba. From Churchill north it's all fly-in only, which is why I have my own plane."

Where do the Polar Huskies live when they are not on an expedition? Do they live with Will? Is it possible to meet them when they get back?

Although the Polar Huskies were trained for this expedition in Ely with Will and the rest of the team members, they will not all return there. As mentioned in a previous Q&A, all but four of the dogs belong to Paul and Mille. After the expedition, then, these dogs will follow them home. Aya, Gloria, Chuck and Suzy will all stay in Canada, going home with Hugh.

Is a father polar bear bigger than a mother polar bear?

Adult males typically measure 200 to 250 cm (6.5 to 8 feet) from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail and weigh 400-600 kg (880-1300 lbs). Females are about half this size. Be sure to check out other 'Furry Facts' in the Polar Bear Alert.

Do you have the height and weight of the Polar Huskies in your kennel?

Unfortunately we did not put the height and weight of each Polar Husky into the kennel with the rest of their bios. This is a great idea and we'll be sure to do that for future expeditions. What we can tell you is that the size varies wildly from one husky to the next. Lipton, the biggest dog in the kennel weighed at least thirty pound more than, say, Nuka at the start of the expedition. He is not only the heaviest dog, but he is probably the tallest. If he's on his hind legs, he is definitely taller than each one of us!

How much to the rocks affect the sleds? Do you have many repairs to make after a rough day of travel?

It's difficult to say just how much the sleds are affected until you unload the gear and flip them over! The runners take most of the abuse, but they are designed to withstand a lot. Each piece of the sled - the runners, the handles, and even the wooden slats that you see - are lashed together by rope, giving the sled enough flexibility to keep from breaking in two!

Do wild animals ever take anything from camp?

This has not been a problem thus far. While there are wild animals out here - mostly wolves - that could easily take something from camp, the thirty-one Polar Huskies are enough to keep these animals away. Generally wild animals are afraid of noise, so with thirty-one different howls, barks, and growls, our camp stays relatively protected!

Are you seeing the northern lights? How often are they visible?

Actually, Nunavut is one of the best places in the world to view Aurora Borealis. Often they appear directly overhead the town of Baker Lake.

The following is an interesting tidbit provided by Orin Durey of Baker Lake:

The kids here say there's an Inuit legend that when you see northern lights, if you whistle you can make them come down closer. But you don't want them too close, otherwise they will bite your head off. If you click your fingernails together, they will go away. I'm always charmed to hear the kids as I walk through town on a still evening nowadays. On any calm night with lots of northern lights, you can hear kids whistling from near and far--the whole two-mile length of the town along the big lake--as they play outside or are coming home from the Arena after a wild evening of hockey.

If you run into a mother polar bear, what would you do?

Polar bears -- mothers especially -- are very territorial, and they're big animals! If we do run into one, often the barking of thirty-one dogs will frighten them away. If not, we have a gun to fire a warning shot in her direction, warning her to turn around!

How many miles do you travel each day?

It depends on the day, really. If we're feeling good and staying warm, we can travel up to twenty miles in a day. If the wind is at our backs, maybe we can go a bit more. But when the headwind blows, the load is heavy and we're exhausted, we may only travel as few as five miles.

What are your favorite dogs on your team?

How can you choose a favorite when there are thirty-one Polar Huskies with thirty-one unique personalities? Sometimes you appreciate the shy ones and sometimes you just want to hear the howl of one of the 'crazy' ones. When the terrain gets rough, you look to the strongest pullers, and when the route gets complicated, you turn to the leaders. We love all of the Polar Huskies!

Have any of the team members gotten sick yet?

With nothing but cold, snow, and rocks -- and a few wild animals -- you'd think that germs would be scarce. They are. But the communities along the way are just like communities at home. People get sick, and sickness spreads. Baker Lake is no different. The flu passed through the community, from one student to the next, one neighbor to another. When we got there, Aaron got it, too. And when we left the community, Mille got it. Now, a couple of weeks later, everyone is healthy again!

How do you keep the water you need to drink from freezing?

Out in the Arctic, we can't simply pour water from the faucet to drink. Every morning, we have to melt enough snow and ice over the stove to drink for the day. We fill up every thermos that we have with hot water, drink as much as we can, and pack up the sleds. By the time we're thirsty again, the water in the thermoses has cooled down...but it's not frozen. By the time the water starts freezing again, we've begun heating water for dinner. Then the cycle starts again the next day.

What were your favorite foods from the feast in Baker Lake?

Aaron reports that the caribou stew and the caribou burritos were excellent!

What language do the people of Baker Lake speak?

Inuktitut is spoken in Baker Lake and Nunavut, along with several other languages. Widely used throughout the north latitudes, Inuktitut has many regional dialects. Despite dialectic differences, people across the Arctic can understand one another. A large portion of the population in far western Nunavut speak English and are attempting to strengthen their Innuinaqtun (a dialect of Inuktitut) in all areas from schools to workplaces.

What are the dogs doing on your days off?

Like us, the dogs only have one rest day per week, usually on Fridays. And, just like us, the dogs are extremely tired at the end of each day. They work very hard pulling the heavy sleds, so "days off" are well deserved - and needed! What do the dogs do on rest days? They REST, sleep, stretch, eat, and then sleep some more!

To what extent will the explorers study birds and butterflies?

Although very interesting, Nunavut's birds or butterflies will not be studied during this expedition. Our primary focuses for this trip are on the people of Nunavut and global warming. Birds, butterflies, and other animals would be fascinating topics for our future expeditions, though!

Are there any gas stations in the towns you visit?

This answer has been provided by Orin Durey, our friend and contact in Baker Lake: There's only one gas station in Baker Lake. Fuel is brought into Baker Lake once each summer by barge or small tanker and stored in the fuel tanks at the tank farm. The gas station is open Monday through Saturday 10am to 5pm. It's run by Arctic Fuels, a company that contracts with the GN PPD (Government of Nunavut, Petroleum Products Division) to provide the service. It's CDN$0.92/litre which works out to about US$2.60/USgallon. In many of the smaller communities like Kugaaruk (Pelly Bay), the service is provided by PPD directly. People buy their gasoline and home heating fuel (P-50 Arctic diesel) from PPD. Some people like myself, have their own PPD account. I use my PPD account to fuel up my airplane when I'm traveling around the Arctic, especially in the smaller communities. Here, AvGas 100LL (Aviation Gas, 100 Low Lead) is CDN$487/drum. A drum here is 205 liters or the same as a 45-US-gallon drum. That works out to about CDN$2.35/litre or about US$8.12/gallon.

Are your dogs beginning to shed or "blow their coats" now that you are experiencing longer days?

Although longer days mean more sunlight, the sun has not yet provided overall warmer temperatures, which means that the dogs' coats have not yet begun to shed. We realize that the official first day of spring was just a few days ago, but up here in Nunavut we are still experiencing bone-chilling temperatures and violent winds. It still feels like winter here, and the dogs still have their winter coats!

Do the drum dances have a special meaning?

While drum dancing is not as important to Inuit life as it once was, it is still practiced in many communities, including many that we will visit on our expedition. Unfortunately, drum dances today is generally no longer practiced for traditional reasons (mainly just for tourists), although sometimes they are performed at symbolic celebrations like graduations or opening ceremonies of festivals. Traditionally, drum dancing was the most popular form of Inuit music and entertainment. It also played a major part in almost every gathering, like celebrations for births, marriages, the changing of the seasons, successful hunts, first kills, greeting visitors, or honoring someone who had died.

Do you change into your PJs at night, or just sleep in your snow suits?

We do change before bed. Although we don't have those little one-piece fleecy PJs with a zipper and attached feet, we put on something a bit more comfortable than the snow suit!

We noticed in the week 8 photo journal that Eric's face was covered in frost. How do you keep from getting frostbite?

Freezing skin is always something to watch out for, and the best way to avoid it is to cover up! Especially on windy days, we cover every piece of skin that we can, leaving only our eyes to peer ahead. Eric luckily did not have frostbite but should really start listening to his own advice.

Is Nuka still the lead dog of one of the teams?

She is. In fact, Nuka was one of the Polar Husky Superstars for Week 10, leading the team north to Pelly Bay.

Out of all the photos, I've never seen both team members on the sled at one time. Please tell us how that works.

It's true, there are two team members with each sled, but they are rarely ON the sled. Partly to keep the blood flowing and partly to spare the weight for the dogs, the team members run or ski alongside the sleds. Why do you see only one team member? The other is taking the photo!

Do the dogs ever bury themselves in the snow to keep warm at night?

Yes. Sometimes they make burrows themselves and curl up in the snow, but we oftentimes will dig into the snow for them, and then they burrow themselves in the area we've cleared. This protects them from the harsh winds, too.

Have any of the dogs gotten sick yet?

Luckily, they have all stayed healthy for the entire trip thus far.

Where is your next big stop?

Pelly Bay, at the southern end of the Gulf of Boothia. Although we have twenty-eight days worth of food packed, we hope to get there in a less than three weeks.

Do you ever see trees where you are now?

No. Actually our last tree was near Artillery Lake, in the Northwest Territories, about 500 miles (about 804 kilometers) back.

When you travel across frozen lakes, how thick is the ice?

We'd say about 7 feet (about 2 meters) thick, but it depends on the currents.

Is it really dark all the time up there?

We have about 12 hours of "workable" daylight each day, but the good news is that it is quickly increasing!!

A while ago you guys wrote about musk oxen. Have you actually seen any yet?

Yes. In fact we'd say they were about 200 yards (about 182 meters) away.

How do you keep your food from freezing?

We don't. We either heat up our food to eat it or we simply eat it frozen, attempting to warm things (like Clif Bars) in our mouths. It's challenging at times.

Why is there water open when it is so cold outside?

Even though it is so cold outside, there can be open water in the Arctic. Due to currents and, of course, gravity, rivers continue to flow. This flowing water moves along fast enough that ice cannot form.

Where are the dogs that are not on the trip, like Cola, Spank, Norma Jean, and Tommy?

Cola, Norma Jean, and Tommy are all retired, living together in Wisconsin. Spank is also retired, living the life of luxury in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He likes to go walking - often pulling - around some of the local city lakes!

Why do you use synthetic insulation (thinsulate) instead of down?

The main reason is that synthetics respond differently to moisture, and they dry out more easily if they get wet. Down, on the other hand, is difficult to dry out and clumps. Imagine that when it is -50 degrees!.

I see that you have arrived in Baker Lake. How big is that place?

Not big! Baker Lake has a population of only 1,400.

Why doesn't your computer freeze?

The computer has its own "sleeping bag," similar to those of the team. The computer itself is put into a large 2-gallon Ziploc bag to protect it from condensation. Every morning Paul heats a hot water bottle and slips it inside the bag to keep the computer from freezing. The whole unit then travels in a specially built case on the sled. You can read more about this in the Polar Husky A to Z section.

What is your favorite dog and why?

That is actually a very hard question to answer. We have 31 dogs on this expedition, and they each have a different personality. Each of them has their own strengths and weaknesses - just like people. We can't really say which one is our favorite, because they all are. They are all important to the success of this expedition and to our survival out here.

Which is the happiest dog?

Each dog shows feelings in unique ways. Dogs don't really smile to show content. But if tail-wagging is a measure of happiness, Timber probably takes the cake. If barking is the measure, it's surely Peto.

What kinds of trees do you see where you are?

Actually, in this week's trail report there is a picture of Aaron standing beside the largest tree we could find, and it is probably going to be the last tree we see for months.

What exactly do you eat out there?

A very important question! Eating is a challenge, but it is obviously extremely important. We talk a lot about what we eat - and how - in the A to Z section of the website. Check out granola bars.

Where do you store your food?

We don't have any place to carry supplies other than on the sleds. Our sleeping bags, our food, our tents, our stoves and even our clothes are pulled on the sleds. Before the trip began, we packed all of our food into boxes and had most of it (all that we didn't need in the first few days) shipped to communities within the Arctic. These were communities and destinations along the trail where we could stop and pick them up. Remember the video and pictures from "Happy Resupply Lake" in Week 5? Those boxes left by the plane were boxes that we had packed in Ely, Minnesota. We unpacked them - as we do at each resupply - reorganized the food and supplies, and took off with everything aboard the sleds.

Do you have any special equipment to help you know how thick the ice is so you know if it's safe for the sled to cross?

Aside from our maps and our knowledge, our best equipment is our ears and our eyes. We can listen for the sound of our footsteps on the ice, as we probe with a ski pole. If the pole breaks through, we know it's dangerous. If the pole or our skis, feet or paws make a hollow sound, we know to be careful. Our most helpful tool is a map. Understanding topography can help to understand flowing water currents, which can often make the ice unsafe. We are careful to study the routes we are traveling and use our common sense.

Are Khan and Xena going to have babies or are they neutered?

Well…this is two questions deserving two different answers. Khan (a male) and Xena (a female) are not going to have babies…at least not anytime soon. Are they neutered? No. Neutering any animal causes extreme changes and fluctuations in hormone levels, and the dog can change. Polar huskies are bred to pull so once it is neutered it might lose the urge to pull.

Do the dogs ever play together or do they just keep to themselves?

The dogs play and they argue, just like human beings. For the most part, the dogs are harnessed to pull or chained-up to rest, allowing them just enough slack to touch noses with one another…but nothing more!

How long did it take you to train the dogs? How do you do it?

It usually takes two or three years to train a polar husky for a major expedition. Sometimes it takes longer. The best way for a young pup to learn is to watch…the older dogs will teach by example and keep them in line.

What is the bicycle tire that is mounted on the rear of the dogsleds used for?

This is used to measure the distance the team is traveling. It is actually just on one sled.

How do you go to the bathroom out there?

Take a shovel, walk a short distance away from camp, dig a hole, sit down take and care of business…and enjoy the beautiful view! - And if it stormy, you get it done really quickly! Normal toilet paper is used. The explorers are always concerned about having enough, and you probably would be too…since once you run out, you are out. Having to go to the bathroom outside at 40 below zero, you really do start thinking about how to take care of things in the fastest possible way and what you are wearing. You can read more about this 'fascinating topic' by visiting the A to Z section of the website.

What do you do when you miss home? Could you bring anything with you to help you when you feel homesick?

Sometimes we get lonely and miss our families and friends, but we find interesting things to keep us occupied when we're in the tent at night. To entertain ourselves, we have been known to talk A LOT. We also read, fix equipment, film, write, play cards, study maps, read stuff from students, and sometimes even count tent stitches!

Do you ever get scared? What kinds of things frighten you while on an expedition?

Yes, we do get scared. Some of the things that frighten us include bad ice, polar bears, white-out storms (it is called white-out because the storm kicks so much snow around that you can't see anything but white), big steep cliffs, leads of open water, moving ice, getting stuck underneath one of the sleds and breaking bones, burning down our tent, getting dehydrated, and we always fear a dog or person potentially getting hurt and not being able to get help…just to name a few!

Are the rivers frozen?

Even though temperatures plummet to minus 40 degree Fahrenheit, sections of rivers will remain open all year. Moving water, or current, keeps ice from forming. Usually this is near a rapids, waterfall, or narrow section.

How do you protect yourself against polar bears?

Polar bears can be very dangerous animals. The team has to remember that we are traveling in their home and that we are the intruders. Luckily for us, any bears that we have encountered in the past have been scared away by the dogs. At night, camp is set up between two lines of dogs. If a bear enters the camp, the dogs will start to bark before it gets to a sleeping team member. We also carry a gun, but only as a means of EXTREME protection.

What are the most common animals where you are? Have you seen all of these animals yet?

Nunavut is extremely vast and so the animals vary with the landscape. Some of the animals that are commonly seen in this area of the Arctic include: Caribou, muskoxen, barren-ground grizzlies (a type of grizzly that is smaller than the other types of grizzlies found in North America), wolves, wolverines, foxes, hares, seals, walruses, whales, a variety of birds, and of course, the famous polar bear. No, we have not seen all of these animals yet, but we hope to…at a safe distance that is.

Do you plan to see any whales?

Actually we do, but it will be probably closer to springtime. In Nunavut, the best place to see whales is the Baffin Region, and we will be traveling along the north side of Baffin Island toward the end of our journey, ending in Pangnirtung.

Do you guys know how to make an igloo? Why are you using cold tents instead of warm igloos?

No, not really. Although igloos are an authentic part of Inuit culture, and play a major role in their history, we simply do not have the time on our expedition to build igloos each night. Being that we don't actually stop mushing each day until about 4 or 5pm, we then have to look for a good camp site, set up camp, feed the dogs, anchor down the sleds and tents, hang our clothes out to dry, cook, and eat dinner. We have a lot of chores each night, including sending audio, video, and written updates to Base Camp, so unfortunately we don't have a lot of time to make igloos.

What are the positions of the dogs?

This is a great question. Each dog has a primary role that they play within their teams. Each dog's position or positions can be found in their bios in the Kennel section of the website. We also talk a lot about the way the dogs are positioned in our first trail report. Check it out to find out more about why the dogs are positioned they way they are. We also have a brand new movie that really explains these positions well.

What do the dogs eat?

While on the trail the dogs each eat a "block" of food a day. Fed a frozen block at night, some of the dogs will actually sleep on their blocks to defrost them and then eat them in the morning. These "blocks" are high in fat and provide the dogs with between 4,500 and 6,000 calories. The blocks are called "Endurance," are about 5" x 5" x 5," and are provided Science Diet. If you want to see a really cool picture of us feeding the dogs check this out.

What is a lead?

Ice is dynamic. With changing temperatures in the arctic, large ice masses expand, contract and shift, similar to the plates of the earth. In fact, it is similar to plate tectonics. In some cases a "mountain" of ice is formed when they push together. In others, an open channel is formed, when the ice breaks apart. This is known as a lead.

Who named the dogs?

Mille and Paul named their dogs, and Hugh named his dogs.

How many kilometers do you go each day?

This is a good question, and it really depends on the weather and our environment. A total of 40 km (25 miles) a day is great. Some days, when we cover steep terrain, we cover only 3.2 km (2 miles). Other days we seem to get in as many as 64-80 km (40-50 miles).

Do you have a satellite phone? What's your number?

Yes, we do have a satellite phone and we use it to communicate with Base Camp and our families. Sometimes because of weather conditions, especially extreme wind, we lose connection with people on the phone. We also do not have much time to spend talking on the phone, since we tend to spend our days taking down camp, mushing, eating, and then setting up our next campsite. What is our number? It's a secret!

Are all of your dogs Huskies?

Actually, they are all Polar Huskies, which makes them a unique breed. To find out more about what makes these dogs so special click here.

How fast are your dogs?

On an average our Polar Huskies run a pace of about 4.83-8.05 km per hour (3-5 miles per hour).

Who is the boss? Do you use a "consensus" model for making decisions?

Interesting question. We each have key roles that we play so that the expedition is a success. Will is officially titled the "Expedition Leader," which means that he has the final say on which route we take. Paul, too, makes navigational decisions, tracking team coordinate positions, weather, and choosing the best direction of travel. Paul is also in charge of handling most of the dogs (in fact, he and Mille own all but four of them), keeping them healthy and strong. Hugh owns and has the final say over the other four, Chuck, Aya, Gloria, and Suzy. As the only Canadian in the group, Hugh is also responsible for coordinating community contacts within Nunavut. Eric is in charge of medical supplies and medical care, and thus makes decisions based upon the health and well-being of the team. Aaron and Mille are in charge of the "education" component, and since this expedition is designed to teach people about the Arctic, this is a big role. However, the team definitely functions as a team, and we obviously have a lot of discussions and make decisions together.

What do you eat?

Just to keep warm, expedition members consume 5,000 calories each day. This includes plenty of butter (one stick a day per person)! They have oatmeal and similar hot, grain-based cereals for breakfast -- and pancake batter for a treat on their days off. They drink more tea than coffee, probably for convenience. For lunch and dinner they primarily have soups, pastas and rice. They have spice packets to make everything a bit more flavorful. They've got buffalo jerky and sausage with them as well as a lot of peanuts and gorp, dried fruit, chocolate squares, energy bars, and a wealth of cheese.

How many dogs pull each sled?

On this particular expedition there are 10 dogs pulling each sled. There is one lead dog per sled followed by three pairs of dogs immediately behind the leader, and then three dogs (side by side) just in front of the sled.

Do the dogs ever ride on the sleds?

The only time this would happen is if they happen to be injured. Thankfully this has not happened yet.

How old is Beacon?

Beacon is one year old. For awhile the only picture of him that was on the website was one taken when he was a puppy. An updated picture of him can be found on the website in the photo journal for week 1. (He is the middle dog in the photo of three dogs in between Ruby and Terex).


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