MOUNTAIN LIFE - Coast Mountains | Fall Winter 2018

38 MLCM FALL/WINTER 2018 words :: Jon Turk illustration :: Dave Barnes June 28, 2011, I wrote in my journal: When you’re trying to drag a 250-pound boat over a dune of ice and snow, and you’re sinking crotch deep into frigid slush, don’t try to preserve your dignity. Dignity is a foreign concept from another cosmos. Crawl. Erik Boomer and I were on the sea ice along the north coast of Ellesmere Island, about halfway to our goal of circumnavigation. When you’re crawling through daiquiri-slush ice water with 750 miles to go, you could think bad thoughts if you wanted to. But that’s not good style because bad thoughts can lead to giving up, and giving up can lead to dying. And that’s bad style. Yeah, I know that Scott and so many other Polar explorers eventually reached their limits, wrote inspiring notes in their journals, lay down in their sleeping bags, and gently passed over to the Other Side. Well, they faced harsher conditions than this and their gear wasn’t as good. So for now, I embrace the crawl. The sea ice smoothed out enough so we gradually straightened and stood upright, like those sequences of human evolution from the knuckle-walking ape to the modern business man with an alligator-skin briefcase. But walking had its own problems, because the skin was worn off my little toe and the meat was scrubbed away halfway to the bone. ECSTASY OF A SORE TOE BEYOND