Sunday, December 4, 2011

Layover day

Yesterday was a layover day for the group. They stayed in place, rested and reorganized gear. Unfortunately Ronny had to end his expedition, and the team is very sorry to see him go. They will all be thinking about him as they push on and hoping he feels better soon!

Layover days are usually spent sleeping and eating, and catching up with journal entries. It's also a good time to make modification or repairs to equipment. The simple pleasure of sleeping in can be a great mini-vacation from the daily routine of the expedition, but after a full day in the tent it's easy to get a little stir crazy. Tomorrow the team will pass the 81 degree mark and they are looking forward to pressing on.

The team has a specific plan for their daily mileage that increases every few days to coordinate with the gradual ascent to the polar plateau and the team's increased efficiency. Caroline from Wisconsin sent and email asking about how the team keeps track of their mileage and what they use for navigation. Great question! The team uses a GPS to get their precise coordinates every day, and to measure their speed and distance. For general navigation the team uses a compass worn on a special chest harness that gives them "hands-free" access to the compass at all times. Following a compass heading eliminates the need to use GPS from minute to minute to verify their course. This is important because the GPS requires precious battery power, and batteries expire easily in the cold. The team will also use natural indicators, such as wind and sun to help them navigate. On a sunny day the sun is a very reliable indicator of direction.

We're happy to answer these types of questions, so keep them coming! Check back again later for another update from the team!

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