March 6 (Day 9)

Wake after being chilled last night…not really cold but chilled enough not to sleep deep. Definite frosty feeling on the tip of the nose. No wonder! Outside temp is –35C when I measure this morning. Gorgeous sunrise at 6:30am with pink blush sky, magenta smear across horizon which spreads across gently lighting the eastern sky. Pink fades to yellow as the sun rises. I’m too lazy to take a photo, just enjoying watching the change without recording on camera.

My sled is heavy today! One thing I don’t like is that we don’t rotate the sleds at all. Wish we would shuffle up or down the line – its  a bit of a break for everyone, stopping momentarily to stretch, readjust tump lines, look around a bit more. Of course Garrett, Leif and Alexandra have the heaviest loads. As well, Garrett is usually out front, breaking trail – an extra burden. Sometimes Leif leads if the route is clear. Alexandra gives encouragement from middle of the pack. Am I wrong to resent that some people always have the sleeping bag sled? Part of the group experience…sigh. I lag behind, half-mast and no energy.

Everyone is feeling the effects. Going is very slow due to the very cold temperatures – snow grabs like a million tiny hands pulling at the sled bottom. Our speed is about 1 mile per hour. At lunch, a somewhat disheartened group munches more quietly than usual. Its noticeably warmer out of the breeze, my spirits pick up with a full belly and big blue sky overhead.

We are walking along side a river, occasionally I stop, listening to the water gugging under the frozen rapids. There are a few open pockets where the rushing water below produces a steamy vapour cloud above. It’s a fantastic day and I’m toasty warm from exertion. The scenery continues to be interesting as the valley narrows further and details from the surrounding hills become apparent. The higher up in elevation, the fewer trees and the more rounded glazed icy hills tempt me forth. Wart like gray erratic erupt from the soft white slopes.

We are camped by 3pm. Curried chicken for dinner with rice, veggies, pineapple upside down cake. Feeling giddy, very tired and not very hungry. Too hot in the tent! By 9:30pm bedtime, its –35C…I hunker down for a cold night, wrapping my down vest around my head inside the bag. Fall asleep quickly but wake chilled on bottom. Eventually warm up and drift off again.