Saturday, August 6, 2016

Environment and Society in a Changing Arctic Field Notes: July 3rd by Brittany Hancock-Brown and Mark Patterson

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.

July 3rd by Brittany Hancock-Brown and Mark Patterson
Today was the day we hiked down from Tarfala Research Station. When we got up, there was a lot of wind and rain and therefore very cold and not a promising start. We all gathered and packed our things and went down to the dining hall for breakfast. Instead of Adam making breakfast, we found Pia in the kitchen baking wonderful smelling bread. Along with the usual oatmeal, we had a great breakfast before we headed out. We headed out and the rain had stopped falling as hard—So that was good! We had to take our time coming down from the station because of the wet conditions in the weather. While waiting for the group to catch up at the first bridge, there was a Bohemian Rhapsody jam session. We also noticed that there was much less snow on the mountains than there was when we had walked up only days before. The water levels, consequentially, were much higher in the rivers and creeks that we crossed. By the time we reached the valley, the clouds had cleared up and the weather became ideal—cool, gentle breeze, and a lot of sun. Overall the hike back was much smoother than the trip up. We stopped at the Sami Restaurant and I had a reindeer burger. It was delicious!

After we reached the end of the King’s Trail, we waited for the bus to arrive. To our delight, the bus was massive, posh, and we had it all to ourselves! We switched vehicles at the airport, which was preceded by a challenging game of Frisbee with high winds. The new vehicles were private vans which we are renting for the remainder of the trip. We drove to get dinner and some of us chose to eat at Frasses and others ate at a pizza place. We then went to Coop to get food for the next few days. It took longer than expected since we had to coordinate meals with our new roommates and because some of us still have trouble reading food labels and navigating foreign stores. Then we started our hour and a half journey to our cabins. In our van, we passed the time by playing “guess the Disney song” game which involved Martin playing random Disney songs on Spotify and having us try to identify which movie it came from as quickly as possible. When we finally arrived at our cabins, we were delighted to see how wonderful our living spaces are. We have comfy beds, private bathrooms, full kitchens, a TV, wifi, and even a sauna! Perhaps the best thing of them all is the perfect view from our kitchen windows of the midnight sun.

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