Questions & Answers Wk 09

Submit a question

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

It depends on the day, really. If we're feeling good and staying warm, we can travel up to thirty miles in a day. If the wind is at our backs, maybe we can go a bit more. But when the headwind blows, the load is heavy and we're exhausted, we may only travel as few as five miles.

How many miles do you travel each day?

submitted by:
Aiden & Joey

Great Question!

It's difficult to say just how much the sleds are affected until you unload the gear and flip them over! The runners take most of the abuse, but they are designed to withstand a lot. Each piece of the sled - the runners, the handles, and even the wooden slats that you see - are lashed together by rope, giving the sled enough flexibility to keep from breaking in two!

On the Audio Update from Sunday, Aaron spoke of boulders you had to navigate. How much to the rocks affect the sleds? Do you have many repairs to make after a rough day of travel?

submitted by:

No, not really. Although igloos are an authentic part of Inuit culture, and play a major role in their history, we simply do not have the time on our expedition to build igloos each night. Being that we don't actually stop mushing each day until about 4 or 5pm, we then have to look for a good camp site, set up camp, feed the dogs, anchor down the sleds and tents, hang our clothes out to dry, cook, and eat dinner. We have a lot of chores each night, including sending audio, video, and written updates to Base Camp, so unfortunately we don't have a lot of time to make igloos.

Do you guys know how to make an igloo? Why are you using cold tents instead of warm igloos?

submitted by:

Hi Laura! Good Observation and good questions too.

Are polar bears endangered?

Scientists predict that, if current warming trends continue in the Arctic, two-thirds of the world's polar bears could disappear by 2050. At the most recent meeting of the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group (held in Seattle in 2005), the world's leading polar bear scientists reported that of the 19 subpopulations of polar bears, five were declining, five were stable, two were increasing, and seven had insufficient data to make a determination. The group reclassified the polar bear as vulnerable on the IUCN World Conservation Union's "Red List of Threatened Species," noting that the species could become extinct due to sea ice changes. Individual countries with polar bears have reclassified the species as well. Citing to concerns about shrinking sea ice habitat, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced on May 14, 2008, that it is listing the polar bear as a Threatened Species under the Endangered Species Act. Canada and Russia both list the polar bear as "a species of concern." The major threat to the polar bear is shrinking sea ice habitat due to climate change. Other threats include pollution, poaching, and industrial disturbances. Hunting could become a threat if populations are not well managed.

Are the Inuit allowed to hunt them?  Do they eat them?

The 1973 International Agreement banned hunting except by native peoples.

Of all the animals the Inuit traditionally hunted, Nanuk, the polar bear, was the most prized. Native hunters considered Nanuk to be wise, powerful, and "almost a man." Some called the bear "the great lonely roamer."

Many tribes told legends of strange polar-bear men that lived in igloos. These bears walked upright, just like men, and were able to talk. Natives believed they shed their skins in the privacy of their homes.

After killing a bear, the Inuit ate the meat and used the fur to make warm trousers for men and kamiks for women. An average polar bear would yield three pairs of trousers and one kamik.

The only part of the bear that was not used was the liver. This was immediately thrown out, as it could make even the sled dogs violently ill.

To pay respect to Nanuk's soul (tatkok), the hunter hung up the skin in an honored place in his igloo for several days. If the bear were male, the hunter provided him with tools such as knives and bow-drills; if female, the bear was offered knives, skin-scrapers, and needlecases.

Native people believed that polar bears allowed themselves to be killed in order to obtain the souls of the tools (tatkoit), which they would take with them into the hereafter.

According to legend, a dead polar bear that was properly treated by a hunter would share the good news with other bears. The animals would then be eager to be killed by such a man while the bears would avoid a hunter who failed to pay respect.

These answers are courtesy of Polar Bear International

In the week 8 trail report, there is a picture of a polar bear skin drying.  Aren't polar bears endangered?  Are the Inuit allowed to hunt them?  Do they eat them?

submitted by:

Yes! Seal has been a part of the traditional Inuit diet for many many years. Seal is as natural for them to eat as cheeseburgers are to Americans.


Do the people in Pang enjoy eating Seal?

submitted by:
Ms Cureton's Class

In the tent we use heavy-duty plastic bowls for our meals. (They are the reusable type that you may use at home for eating cereal every morning.) Depending on the meal, sometimes we may lick the bowl clean. It is quite easy to clean the bowl as any left-on food will freeze overnight in the tent or during our day of travel. We can then just break it off. It's true, sometimes we don't get it all and in the morning our oatmeal can take on a bit of an alfredo-sauce taste. :-) But that's okay. We're not that picky.

Do you bring plastic or paper utensils, cups, and plates?  If you bring plastic, how do you wash them? If you bring paper, where do you throw them away?

submitted by:

We wear lots of layers of special expedition clothing so we can stay warm. We also eat a lot of high-calorie food to help us stay warm and give us the energy necessary to ski while we travel. And speaking of skis that is another adaptations we make, we put skis on our feet so we can move across the ice and snow! So that makes three adaptations!


In terms of Human Environment Interaction, how do you adapt to your surroundings?

submitted by:
Enstad's Geo. Classes

No, we do not hunt when we are in the Arctic. We will purchase meat from native peoples along our route for both us and the Polar Huskies to eat. And it is delicious!!!  :-)

do they or you ever hunt anything to eat?

submitted by:

When we get cold, we start moving around, like doing jumping jacks or skiing harder to make the blood flow faster. We get warm from the blood flowing around in our body! When you move fast, like run fast, your heart has to pump your blood faster and that is why you get to feel warm, maybe even sweaty. Now, for the body to be able to make all that happen it needs energy, and we get energy from what we eat. So the other thing we do is that we eat something, like an energy bar or some chocolate. That is like a burst of heat! This will help us get warm because the body will 'burn the food' and that makes us a bit warmer, and it also gives us energy to move around!

Are you ever cold?

submitted by:

We travel across the Arctic in the traditional way the Inuit have for many yeas, via dogsled. We use a komatek sled that is of exact inuit design and our Polar Huskies are of Inuit decent.  If you take all the northern husky breeds - like Alaskan Malamute, Greenlandic Husky, Siberian Husky, Alaskan Husky, Mackenzie River Husky, and Canadian Eskimo - mix them together, stir in a few huskies from the South Pole, and you will have one of us: a Polar Husky.


I spent my Sunday morning preparing and stretching caribou skins for my traveling and camping comfort and began to wonder about your trip.  Will you be using any traditional Inuit equipment or tools or your expedition?

submitted by: