Thursday, February 25, 2010


I did not plan to go Iqaluit. It was supposed to be just a stopover enroute to Resolute. I planned Resolute trip almost a year ago, even before ALE accepted me for the South Pole expedition.

Why Resolute you may ask. Well, this is the furthest point a commercial airplane can fly to in the North America. I used my Aeroplan points, for 25k miles you can fly anywhere in North America. That means it costs the same for flying from SFO to LAX or San Francisco to Resolute. Obviously I chose the furthest point to maximize my points. The ticket to go there is well over 5k from the US. But to get the ticket, you must book so far in advance, 350 days ahead to grab one of very few (if not only one) mileage tickets.

Money aside, I always wanted to visit Resolute, some of the most northern community in Canada, as you already know how much I am interested in these places. So voila, I'm on my way to the town at the tip of Canada.

So this morning I went to Ottawa airport after a night of not sleeping well because of the noise and the bad bunkbed in Ottawa Backpacker's Inn. When I was at the gate, and check out who I saw. It was Eric Larsen. That's right, the person who I was supposed to train with for my South Pole but didn't happen and we met in Patriot Hills. Well, I knew he was going to the North Pole as the second leg of his 3 poles quest for his Save the Poles project. But I did not know he might be on the same flight with me until a couple days ago when I read his blog. It was very cool to see him there, with his team mates AJ of UK and French Canadian Darcy who lives in Winnipeg.

Eric was exhausted from the long road trip from Colorado to Minnesota crossing the border to Canada and across Ontario on less traveled roads in the winter. Not a fun road trip according to him. In fact the whole team looked tired as they didn't have much sleep and lots and lots of things to take care of in short amount of time. Even AJ was the last addition to the team as Ryan Waters (who made history with Cicillie to cross Antarctica unsupported -- I had a chance to talk to them at the South Pole when our expeditions converged) decided not to come. It's amazing how they come this far, ready to hop out on the ice and start their expedition to the North Pole for 50 days (estimated).


Even before we boarded the plane, First Air personnel advised us that the plane to Resolute was cancelled and we have the choice to stay in Ottawa or fly to Iqaluit and find our own accommodation. We chose to fly.

At their Iqaluit airport, I ran into Marlin, a girl who worked at Patriot Hills. Again, I knew she was going to go to Resolute but did not expect she would be in Iqaluit, also waiting for fly to Resolute. She is a cook for the British's Catlin Arctic Survey expedition at a base camp they are going to set up just outside of Resolute. I also met Martin Hartley who is a member of this expedition.

It was a nice surprise to meet these people here. Since we're stuck here for two days (next flight out to Res scheduled for Sat at 1:30pm), I am sharing a room with Eric's team. Interestingly enough, right after our South Pole trips, I also shared the room with Eric's team (Bill and Dong) in Punta Arenas.

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