Questions & Answers Wk 03

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Every week Team GoNorth! answers ten questions related to the module topic from student explorers -- so stay tuned and submit YOUR questions!

We don't exactly get to wash our clothes that often. In order for us to wash anything out on the trail, we have to melt enough snow to add the soap and then enough water to rinse things thoroughly. It's simply too much work and consumes too much fuel. So we wear the same things everyday. Depending on how warm or cold it is, we may have as many as six or seven layers just on our upper-bodies. We layer numerous pairs of pants and shirts and each one of us has to fit all of our clothing into one duffel bag!

We learned from Aaron at the chat today that you only get to bathe when you are in communities. How many different clothes do you bring with and how do you wash them?

submitted by:
Becca, Ashley & Kelsey

We are very rarely riding on the sled.

Most of the time you will find us on skis next to the sled. We have what is called a "tow-rope" on each side of the sled. Each rope is attached to the front end of the sled, and is the full length of the sled going back to the handlebar of the sled. We hang on to this rope with one hand, and onto the handlebar with the other hand, while we are skiing in between. Now, it is called a "tow-rope", but we are not suppose to be towing. We ski to keep the pace. This keeps us warm, we are helping by "moving" our own weight, at the same time we can steer the sled.

If not skiing, you can find us running or walking next to the sled. Or pushing on the sled if we are in difficult conditions. Or out in front of the dogs on snow-shoes if we are traveling in deep snow.

If you're not riding on the sled, what are you doing?

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That's a great question!

We carry small stoves with us that we use within the tent. These are used both to provide some warmth and to cook our food. (The stoves are not used when we are sleeping for safety reasons.) In addition to cooking our food, we use it to melt snow. Because we can't eat the snow (check out the H2O section of the Polar Husky A-Z), we even have to melt snow to provide us with water to drink.

We noticed on the diet profile for Mille that there are many foods and beverages that require heat. How do you heat them?

submitted by:
Britney & Sarah

If you fall into the ice, the first thing you do (once you are out of the water) is to roll in the snow!!!

This may sound a bit strange, but what happens is that the snow will act like a sponge, like paper towels, "sucking" the water, out of your clothing and away from your skin. Next your team mates will grab a bivy bag of the sled, you take off your clothing and you get into the sleeping bags in the bivy bag. If we have any warm water bottles we will put them in the sleeping bag with you , to help get it warm. Then we set up the tent, turn on the stove and get you inside in the heated tent.

Once inside the tent we will hang the wet clothing on the drying rack in the top of the tent. If we can't dry it in one night, you will have to use your spare set of clothing.

How do you dry clothes if you go into the water?

submitted by:
Kurt & Jessica

Much like people, the weather does greatly effect the moods of our Polar Huskies.

For starters, they typically don't like rain. They also don't like it when it gets terribly hot. They tend to get tired and cranky when it is hot and humid.

They do love the cold weather. They know that snowfall means they will get to pull the sled much in the same way they know that a week-long drive in the dogtruck means we are going on a trip!

When we are out on the trail, they enjoy the cold temperatures of the Arctic. If there are storms the result in us needing to stay where we are for a day or two and not travel, they will just curl up in a ball and patiently wait it out.

It was so warm last week and dogs were so dirty (they looked cute all muddy!) Do their behavior change when the weather changes?

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We use dogs for many different reasons. Some of them are...

First of all you get much closer to the land when you travel by dog team, You see things - like wildlife - you will never see from a snow machine.

You also get closer to the people. The areas where we travel traditionally used dog teams as their primary mode of transportation. When we pull into communities with the dog teams we are always welcomed, because we come by dog team. The Elders love to see the big dogs again, and so do the students!

We also travel in places - wilderness - where it is not possible, way more difficult or dangerous to travel by vehicles.

The good thing about dogs is they never break down! We travel in very remote areas, often where you can not get a lot of help, there are no "gas station" around the corner to fuel up or get a new engine. As long as you love your dogs and make sure they are well feed, they just keep trucking.

The areas in which we travel - like the tundra - also tends to be very fragile. We leave less impact by traveling by dog teams.

Finally we find that the Polar Huskies are very important for our education programs. We all seem to learn better when guided by the dogs!

Why do you use dogs instead of snowmobiles?

submitted by:
Peter & Christopher

No, we have never been lost so we were not able to find our way. But we have been in situation, where we have decided to make camp to analyze if we were where we thought, and which way to continue.

While we are traveling we make very sure we constantly know where we are on the map, using our compass and vision; as well as if necessary our GPS (global positioning system). We have tried that the GPS told us wrong information, that we miscalculated our compass and that we had to back track.

Check out Compass in the Polar Husky A to Z for more on navigation.

Have you ever gotten lost during an expedition?

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It will be a combination of driving and flying. We will drive to Canada from Expedition Basecamp and then from within Canada we will fly up to Nunavut!

How do you get the dogs to Canada?

submitted by:
Mrs Mottinger's Class