Saturday, July 9, 2016

Environment and Society in a Changing Arctic Field Notes: June 30th by Karl Blomgren and Kathy Limes

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 30th by Karl Blomgren and Kathy Limes


In the morning, we got up and got a lot of breakfast. We also made delicious sandwiches (although we didn’t make enough L). Those sandwiches accompanied us on the lakewards journey that Ninis assigned us. We were told to walk down to the frozen lake, then walk north to the base of the mountain and back to Tarfala. We walked along the river and investigated (and debated) the geologic history of the region.

We saw a few glaciers, and were enchanted by a group of reindeer that we found wandering along the snowfields in the valley. We also found some stone circles, where the brave sandwiches tragically perished in the line of duty. We hiked back to Tarfala along the base of the mountain, trying our best to avoid the patches of snow (or battlefields, as some argued) along the way, and had a couple of really dramatic snowball fights when and as we failed. Kajsa tried to tackle Martin into the snow, but was unsuccessful, much like Katy’s attempts to hit anyone with her snowballs.

After we returned, we had a two hour break. Katy took a nap, Karl stayed on the E rock and mourned the sandwiches.

Then, we had an outdoor lecture on the geologic history of the region from Ninis. She talked about what we had discovered on our hike – how the landscape was shaped by glaciers, how the lake was formed, what kinds of environments were found there, and what it might look like in a hundred years. She also dazzled us with the massive time scale of the valley’s history, and of the ice ages that shaped it.

We then went inside to have a lecture with Mark.

He talked about the Arctic in the enlightenment age, and more specifically, Carl von Linné and his perspectives on the Sàmi. We talked about travel writing in that age – how it was a combination of genuine information and fantastical storytelling, and had a rousing discussion on the assigned reading.

After that, we had beet soup, beans, and bread for dinner, and then the official day was done. Karl went on a hike, and Katy went to sleep. The evening hike was directed towards Kekkonen peak, but also managed to include Tarfalatjårro.

This is a picture of some of the hikers on Kekkonen peak.

Tomorrow, we’re going on a hike up one of Tarfala valley’s glaciers. We can’t wait!

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