July 10, 2008 On Our Way!
This journal entry was constructed on the first leg of my journey to the Arctic although the intent was to fill you in on the days leading up to the start of the journey. The past few days were absolutely packed with to-do list items keeping in mind that the list constantly morphed as items were completed and new items were added. The Principle Investigators of this expedition (Al Werner, Mike Retelle, Steve Roof) created a very informative website for this trip that included pictures, reading list, packing list, and links for additional information. The packing list was terrific as it creatively described the importance of each of the items on the list. (Check this website for our packing list and trip itinerary https://www.mtholyoke.edu/proj/svalbard/participant.shtml). I was issued a variety of outerwear items (fleece, jacket, gloves, hats, etc...) from Polar Services although I had most everything on the list. The biggest challenge was selecting the items that would be the most efficient in keeping me warm and dry in the field. Having the correct layers as well as back-up layers is important since our level of activity will vary and the weather will vary. Of course all these decisions on what to take on the trip to the Arctic were made in the heat of the New Jersey summer! My luggage includes a large duffel bag, a smaller sport bag and a backpack, and of course my clothing only took up about half of the space, and my footwear and field supplies took up the rest. I'll let you know if I packed the right stuff!
The first leg on the journey to the Arctic was to get to Amherst, our rendezvous location. I traveled from Somerset to Newark Penn Station (thanks Jen!), and from Penn Station to Amherst via Amtrak. The others will be coming from all over the country and arrive by plane. This evening we will leave from Boston and fly to Iceland, and Friday from fly from Iceland to Oslo Norway, and then fly from Oslo to Longyearbyen on the island of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard archipelago. This will be our home for a few days before heading to our field station.
I mentioned "we" and "others" without much detail about who the others are on this trip. Besides the PI's, there will be a 7 undergraduate college students from the US working on their own field research questions about the Arctic and climate change. You will meet all of them and hear about their work. They are looking forward to answering any of your questions, and so visit the "Ask the Team" forum to post your questions.
Challenge of the Day: Look at a calendar and count 5 weeks and then make a list of everything you need to do if you were to go on a trip for period of time. Being organized is the key to getting it all done!
That's it for now.... Watch for updates on our journey to the Arctic! As they say getting there is half the fun!