The daily routines of our journey are starting to groove – boil water for breakfast, break camp and start trekking at 10 with 10 minute stops every hour, just enough to rehydrate and refuel with some food but not enough to get cold. Trekking stops around 3 so there’s time to set up the tent, boil water, rehydrate with hot drinks and then a delicious supper of dehydrated food. Despite our best efforts to stay up, bedtime usually happens around 7:30. But camp life is getting into a nice groove – everyone has a role and every piece of gear has its place.
Today we pushed farther up the Owl River Valley, 6 tiny figures pulling six orange sleds across a vast expanse of snow, ice and rock. The valley plain over which we travel is over 2km wide in places, and flat, a testament to the power of the glacier that scoured this valley many thousands of years ago. We will pass in the shadow of the Penny Ice Cap in a few days, the last remnant of the massive ice sheet that covered most of Eastern Canada at one point.
Although the plain is flat, the sledding has been hard at times, as the constant winds scour the snow into ridges and mounds, forcing us to travel up and down constantly with our sleds. As secluded and isolated a spot as this is on earth, ironically, we find ourselves camping beside another expedition of 12 Brits who came into the park last night a day after us and are pushing hard to get through the pass on a tight deadline.