July 20, 2010 To the Ice Edge
Today was a great day! After breakfast, we were issued our cold weather gear which we will need when we go up to Summit tomorrow. There was a lot of laughter as we tried on all of the gear that had been issued to each of us. Our gear consists of fleece pants and jacket, insulated bib pants, a huge parka, balaclava, fleece hat, gloves and/or mittens, boots, and a neck gaiter. After our gear was issued we had to pack what we would supplement this gear with, mostly long underwear, warm socks, regular underwear, and a long-sleeve tshirt or turtleneck. Tomorrow on the plane we will be wearing a good portion of our cold weather gear to be prepared for our arrival at Summit.
The organizing of gear took a good portion of the morning. After lunch, we headed out on a less than wonderful road that would take us to the edge of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Along the way we stopped and did looked at the life in a couple of ponds including one which had some very strange, as of yet still unidentified orange spherical masses that resembled some kind of fruit. Before too long, we were at the trailhead that would take us to the edge of the ice sheet. To say that seeing the edge of the Greenland Ice Sheet is spectacular doesn't begin to convey what this experience is like. The wall of ice is massive and at this point it is only a fraction of the thickest part of the ice. To stand there and look at the ice sheet stretching off into the distance and to know that it is covering the vast majority of Greenland is an awe inspiring moment.
We returned from the ice edge along the same route, with only one stop to observe a mother caribou with her calf that were pretty close to the road. Once back we had just a little while before dinner. After dinner we had a team meeting where we shared some expectations about what the experience at Summit and NEEM would be like and talked about our overall goals for the trip. Once the discussion got going, it was a great sharing of ideas and hopes that people have as well as what they already knew about the science that is going on on the ice sheet. The meeting wrapped up with some logistical details about tomorrows flight to Summit - currently scheduled for 10AM.
I know tomorrow will be another great day in Greenland!