Sunday, July 3, 2016

Environment and Society in a Changing Arctic Field Notes: June 29th by Martin Alesund and Rachel Gutierrez

This article and the images originally appeared on KTH's Environment and Society in a Changing Arctic blog. 

There you can read about the Arctic course taking place in the summer of 2016! The participating students from KTH Royal Institute of Technology together with the students of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are writing about their experiences throughout the course.

June 29th by Martin Alesund and Rachel Gutierrez

Hiking Day

In the early morning, everyone got up on time and we all met up at the bus to head to Nikkaluokta. The weather looked ominous. We were not thrilled to have to hike in the rain. We arrived at the Nikkaluota station and gave our bags to the helicopter, visited the guest station, and started our journey.

Martin befriended a rabbit within with first five minutes of the hike. That was the only form of wildlife we saw today. The cheerful group hiked further and then the rain came out of the sky like a faucet. We were not cheerful anymore. We were soaked. Then, we walked and walked and walked some more in the rain.

The rain stopped and we took of all of our not-so-waterproof raingear. “Idiots” the clouds thought and then the rain started again. We were again bathed in nature. We ate snacks along the way and eventually lunchtime came. By this time, Rachel was feeling light-headed and it had actually not rained for a while so we were slightly happier. We had a beautiful lunch near a beautiful riverside and we were able to see glaciers on the mountain.

Then, we started on the very tough part of the trail. We had to stroll through rivers, stumble through glaciers, balance and climb on rocks, and try not to fall over at every step. By this point we had hiked most of the way and were feeling very exhausted. When we finally say the research station, we cheered! We had made it! Our legs were not going to fall off before we got there! The 24 kilometers / 16 miles was not a cake walk. It was the toughest as scariest thing I have ever done in my life (Rachel).

Then we had a lovely dinner and showered and are now ready to sleep for the next century to recover. Tarfala research station is the coolest place we visited by far and if you already didn’t google it, do it now.

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