This morning, we were all excited to jump in the cars, especially the “La Vida Loca”, a Lada Niva car (used by the Russians in James Bond movies) nicknamed so by Britta. Our caravan of trucks and cars rode up to the cantina for breakfast, Britta enjoying Ronin’s rock music all the way. After a filling meal, we returned to begin editing our films and packing our bags. We attempted to cram in some film clips while others cleaned and the two of us took a short break to pound flowers into fabric in order to stain it.
After lunch, it was time to go souvenir hunting. So it was back to “La Vida Loca” and the Airport. We perused the two shops which have mainly the same items for T-shirts, sweatshirts, magnets, stuffed animals, mugs, pins and hand-carved trinkets looking for presents for family and ways to remember this wonderful once in a lifetime experience.
When we came home, the big cleaning began. While almost everybody was scrubbing floors, sweeping, collecting food to be donated to our neighbors (who were so kind as to lend us cooking materials) or labeling gear to return it to the boxes to be placed in storage, Marie-Louise and Fred were hard at work on the videos from Summit.
For our last dinner, we all ordered again from the Polar Bear Inn, sharing french-fries with Thai sauce, carrot catsup and remoulade. Soon afterwards, we gathered to watch excerpts from the Summit videos. The videos were both very well made and Josephine and I (Samantha) started tearing up as we watched the “Life at Summit” section because we knew our trip was coming to an end.
Although we were all exhausted, we elected to go on a relaxing hike to the waterfall, just past the mountain Sugar Loaf. The two of us piled into “La Vida Loca” with Sheryl and Britta for a last ride on the bumpy dirt roads, La Vida’s tires swiveling beneath us as we charged the little car up the hills. We all joined in for a rousing rendition of “Stayin’ Alive” and “RESPECT” before pulling over at the trailhead. There we unloaded and walked (or skipped) along the winding trail dotted with dazzling purple harebell and wispy Dr. Seuss-like Arctic Cottongrass. Upon arriving at the ledge of a cliff with the raging Watson River below, we paused for pictures and to admire the overhanging moss, the torrent of water and the pink sunlight illuminating the olive mountainsides around us.
We then bounded up the trail until it met rocks and sand, the mist from the waterfall drifting lazily over us. After some picture taking of us climbing rocks, sitting in front of the waterfall, everyone spread out, not saying a word and enjoyed the moment to ourselves, reveling in the power and beauty of the “water pouring over the edge like the horses in the Lord of the Rings,” as Thomas described it. Skipper also introduced me to gneiss rock, which I (Samantha) confused with nice rock, wondering how he so easily determined the difference between nice rocks and bad rocks. Although we had all considered staying home, we agreed that it was the perfect end to the trip.
Again as the line of students and teachers headed back, we talked of the bittersweet moments, how much we would miss each other, all the fun we had and what we learned. By the time we reached the trucks, our hands were frozen! Even so, we posed for group photos with the “quiet coyote” hands (Britta’s way of nicely saying “shut up” to her students).
On the drive back, fate gave us one last glimpse of the Greenlandic wildlife - a blue fox darted across the road a few times, its adorable little tail swishing behind it. Back at the dorms we did some final checking for lost items and final T-shirt signing as we shared Britta’s precious rice cakes smeared with Nutella until two in the morning. Slowly more and more of us slipped off to bed while others stayed awake to do some last minute packing or to watch the Pirates of the Caribbean. Eventually, however all of us fell into our last sleep at Kanger before heading our separate ways.