Tomorrow Chris and Lisa start driving north. The accompanying photos show the sparkling new 14′ sledge which they will christen once arriving in Inuvik.
Why do they do this, and why is this expedition unique?
This is nothing less than an epic journey. Chris and Lisa will face the extremes of adversity: bone-chilling cold of 50 below air temps and colder, brutal wind chills dropping temps to inhuman depths, hungry polar bears, blizzards, thin ice over deadly water, and the everyday challenges of life on a tipping edge that requires living in the moment to survive.
One must have a certain predisposition to entertain ideas of expeditions of this sort. Virtually no one on the planet – save that certain fraction of a percent of truly adventurous souls – would consider such a journey.
The dogsled journeys of Greenlandic polar explorer and anthropologist Knud Rasmussen originally inspired Lisa to consider this route. Rasmussen is credited as the first to cross the Northwest Passage by dogsled. His journey is recounted in a classic of polar expedition literature: Across Arctic America (1927). While reading the book, Lisa developed a romantic notion of dogsledding the Northwest Passage. The idea stuck.
As for Chris, he’s stuck on dogsledding, the Arctic, pushing the envelope, and Lisa. The expedition was an easy choice.
This trip is somewhat unique in its noncommercial status, and walkabout nature. By that I mean it is really an expedition conducted for themselves. There are no corporate sponsors. There are no press releases or obvious desires for press coverage. There are no clients to satisfy. There is no book deal or obvious desire for one. There is no cause being advanced or charity being endorsed. The expedition doesn’t even have an official name.
Instead, it is two people alone on the Arctic snow and ice with their dogs. Should they fail, it will be by only their own measurement – not the measurement of others – and not gauged by reaching a certain point on a map.
In the eyes of people like myself who look at those who see adventure and move toward it, they have already succeeded.