Genny and Susan have reached Cape Sheridan, after several flights, but there’s a problem – due to fog and bad weather, they were forced to land on the opposite side of the river from Robert Peary’s camp, where most of the archaeological sites are!
Play this audio clip to hear Susan describe their journey North, and give her impressions of the harsh, beautiful environment.
2017 – sadly the audio file for this entry has been lost. The following is a transcript:
Greetings from Cape Sheridan
When we last communicated we were in Resolute, on the eve of our flight north.
On Sunday morning we loaded our gear onto a Twin Otter, and experienced the most amazing flight up the west coast of Ellesmere Island with it’s deeply cut fiords. We could see Axel Heiberg island on the left, a dramatic landscape with glaciers spilling out everywhere.
After a three hour flight, we needed to refuel and landed at Tanquary fiord, where Parks Canada has the warden station for Ellesmere’s national park. There we learned that we could not continue on due to fog at Alert, Canada’s northernmost military base and the weather station nearest to our destination. We were forced to spend the night at Tanquary where Parks Canada staff welcomed us and provided us shelter. It is an absolutely beautiful but austere setting with remarkably warm and sunny weather much of the summer.
The next morning, the weather report indicated that conditions at Alert were better, but there were fog banks in the area. The pilot decided to fly over anyways to have a look. We were in for another spectacular flight across Ellesmere with great views of Lake Hazen.
He flew over Cape Sheridan, with fog moving in and out from the ice choked sea. we had tantalizing glimpses of Floeberg Beach, Ross Marvin’s memorial and various other historic markers. For the next hour the pilot dodged the fog, circled around, attempted numerous landings, which he had to abort, and finally selected a short river terrace as a landing strip.
We joyfully stepped foot on land, only to realize that, thanks to the fog, this only possible landing site was on the north side of the Sheridan River, while most of the sites we need to visit are on the south side. There was nothing we could do at that point, so we set up camp and began following Peary’s motto “find a away or make one” to get ourselves onto the other side of this swift, deep and icy river.
We’ll update you on our progress in the next post.