Week 01 Snow Moon

Date Posted: 2.21.2011
Location: 44º54'N 92º47'W
Expedition Basecamp, Minnesota, USA
Weather Conditions: Snowstorm, 27°F (-3°C)
Two big snow storms had the ground covered in a thick blanket of snow already before end of November; December brought all-time high snow fall; we had only four days without at least a trace of snowfall in January-and it has been cold enough that the snow pack has been staying around too. Snow moon, as the Native Americans here in Minnesota call the moon of February, gets its name from the heavy snows of February... Flurries of snow are falling from the sky above

  Watch the Polar Husky
  set-up for pulling their load

  Watch the Polar Huskies
  ready to roar!
Expedition Basecamp, right now! It's a snowstorm, again! That all makes
for a pack of howling happy Polar Husky sled dogs-howling to the
silvery snow moon casting long shadows on the glowing landscapes.


"I am just about to howl along with them, I am so excited to see this snow falling" Joar smiles. A melt set in this past week, and though it was only a few days above-freezing it was enough: we are all ready to go north! Well, actually, we are not quite ready yet, though thanks to amazing teamwork, we are getting there indeed.

Just like launching a space ship to the moon takes a team - so does getting an adventure learning expedition at PolarHusky.com launched and on the ground at the expedition starting point!

[image left: Jim holds on to Domino for Dr. Hunter as she is checking up on every Polar Husky getting them ready to go north!]


         One Uniat done, One Uniat to go! Uniat is the
       Inupiaq word for a komatek sled

  Watch Jim sanding as he works on
  getting the sleds ready for departure

And just like a space mission includes more than the astronauts, our team includes many other people than "just" us heading out on the expedition trail to accomplish all that needs to be done; from visiting schools, re-lashing the sleds, producing movies, working with sponsors, writing grants, formatting the curriculum, testing equipment, managing the web site, fixing gear, keeping up with accounting, to feeding the Polar Huskies... (Get the picture?).

  Watch Joar and Ashley test the firearms we bring along for polar bear protection

  Watch happy Polar Huskies getting some yummy water treat by Joar

Make sure to join the expedition team members in this year’s first chat on Friday, February 25th at 1 PM Central Time to talk about Arctic Exploration and what goes into getting ready for the expedition!

Khan getting some loving during a school visit  
Planning and preparing to take off on a dogsled expedition to the high Arctic is a major undertaking-one that can easily take several years from the planning of the route and logistical detail to the actual "putting it together." Well, not at PolarHusky.com-it's been eight months again since we returned from the last one! That's how we roll at PolarHusky.com for ten years now, since 2001 when we did our first full-scale adventure learning program. The first-ever adventure learning expedition in the world that is! "Yes, I am proud of this anniversary, indeed," grins Mille, tired but very excited—she goes on, “what blows my mind are those I share this ten-year journey with—not only are Polar Husky veterans Nazca, Disko and Sable still by my side moving the sled forward, so many of the teachers that first signed up with us back in 2001 are also still part of the team as we now head for Beringia!!!”



         Joar heads up the Polar Husky training - on
       most days the fourwheelers are loaded with
       sandbags to make up for a heavy load, about
       1000 lbs or some 4-500kg
Most people likely know less about Beringia than they do about the moon! This region around the Bering Strait, from Alaska in the east to Chukotka in the west—Beringia straddles the two countries of the United States and Russia, the very two countries that some 60 years ago actually set out on a race for the moon! We are thinking that though it was a "race for space," in much the same it was all a mission driven by the desire "to know more!" Something worth considering as we set out these first three weeks on a mission to investigate the big question "why explore?"

  Watch Mille setting up one of the Hilleberg tents
  the team will be using as they camp every
  night on the expedition trail!


[image left: Polar Husky Superstar Luna

For Luna, this weeks’ first Polar Husky Superstar, there is no reason needed to explore, but simply because its, well, fun and exciting! Luna is all excitement and exploration at any cost. Guess the fact that she shares name with the first three moon missions, Russia's Luna I, II, and III is fitting!  And though we admit her high-octane, far-reaching, and a bit spacey personality jives with that, Luna actually earned her name because she was a big howler from the very get-go, not just on nights with a bright moon that is. Luna is a talkative personality with a lot of excitement to share about everything. So much so, that Luna will be reporting every Thursday in her own Luna Log to share the explorations from her point of view over the next 14 weeks! 

Speaking of that, don't miss Freja’s daily phenology observations or Trigger’s daily Tweets on how to save resources!


         Polar Husky Superstar Sable

  Watch: About to head out on a training run Tucker
  is wound up alright, but notice, so is Luna in the
  back as Ashley hitches her up next to Trigger!

This week’s other Polar Husky Superstar, Sable, has her own section to the site too. If you take a look at Sable's expedition map (there is a map of each dogs expeditions on their pages in the Kennel!) it is obvious that Sable has tremendous experience running on the trail. It is not just the mileage, however-it is the effort that Sable has always puts into moving our sleds forward every mile of the way on every expedition. 


Polar Huskies in action on the fields around Basecamp  
She is happy-natured and a real honey, but don't get fooled by sweet Sable. She is actually one of the toughest Polar Huskies to ever pull a sled, and with her unbelievable technique and tremendous strength of both mind and body, she knows and teaches the ropes of working as a team like no one else under the moon. She may be turning silver gray, but Sable has never been afraid to set anyone straight as she has never had tolerance for silliness, and she has never given up. Yes, Sable is the type of personality that takes charge to change the world! That is one reason why we have to put Sable in charge of the very important section on the website “Green A-to-Z with Sustainable Sable”! Here you can join Sable and the rest of the team in making a difference for sustainable living (like how we think about "smart living") some howls and one paw at a time!


  Watch: “Cha” or “haa” is the command to go left, to go right it is “gee”

  Watch Ashley “Hop up” the team to go!

  Watch how we use many different commands to get the dogs going – like Joar here!

That's just how, the Polar Huskies will continue to pull the four-wheelers around Basecamp getting ready for our journey ahead.  Kodiak is rolling around on his back, legs up in the air; Kinu’s bark is cutting though the noise of 24 amped-up Polar Huskies, and Pingo flies in long strides through the air circling and circling. Polar Huskies are of one mind: whether it’s to the moon and back, it must soon be time for a run!