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July 18, 2005

Green Valley

We were supposed to leave for the field on Monday, but things weren’t looking good. The weather had crapped out and things were windy and rainy and generally unpleasant out there. I was actually kind of hoping we’d get stuck in. In case of bad weather, we’d stay based in town and fly out via helicopter for day trips. A 28-person camp for all of 5 or so days seemed a hassle to me.

Monday brought news that camp was a go. The first group headed out around 9 to get camp mostly set up and to scope out the scene for the rest of us. Everyone else, including myself, was then scheduled to go out at 4:30. I worked to tidy the GPS equipment and to track down another rock drill, since ours only had one good battery. At 4, after a last-minute trip to the BX (base exchange) for supplies (alcohol and chocolate), we headed to the heliport. To find out that we’d been delayed an hour. Of course. Ken, Patrick, Darren, Quintin, and I walked over to the gym where the former three played around with a soccer ball (with their shirts off—awwwww, Quintin and I wined, why’d they have to do that—) and Quintin and I played a few pitiful games of PIG and around the world with a basketball. It’s obviously been a while. (He won PIG. I won around the world. On the last shot. I could go into the minute excrutiating details, because it really was quite an exciting game—down to the last shot, literally, where all I had was one left to make and I’d been stuck there for turns and turns and hadn’t risked my second shot because didn’t want to end up back at the beginning—which is where Quintin ended up, turn after turn—and time was running out, we were risking being late, and Quintin said last round and I missed my first shot and on the second either I would make it and win or miss it and we’d both lose (as Quintin reminded me with a smile) and as I already gave away I made it and all was well in the world (for me, maybe not for Quintin) but it’s not worth telling you all that because really, it was just a game of around the world.)

Back up to the heliport. We’d missed the chance to make it on the first flight, so were on the third. The first group was just getting weighed in. We waited. And ate some chocolate. (I bought about five bars of Ritter-Sport chocolate from the BX. When I returned with it to the van, Darren looked at my stash and said rather harshly, “Why’d you get so much chocolate? Are you really going to eat all that?” “I got it to share,” I said. “Oh.” Rather sheepishly, because he knew he was no longer likely to get any.) Helped load up the second helo with gear.


[Our ride.]


[I feel like I’m pulling my big red wagon, said Sean.]

We played cards, build pyramids, designed a new jet liner. Actually, we mostly played on the scale to see how much we weighed in kilos and how much less we’d weigh without items such as heavy boots, hats, coats. We were interrupted by the arrival of the helo. It was time to go. I was kind of bummed, because I hadn’t had a chance to weigh my boots yet.


[Quintin.]


[Thule from above.]

When we stepped out of the helicopter at the camp, I knew I’d arrived. I mean, of course I’d arrived at camp, but I’d arrived in the sense that I was there, and that there was nowhere else I needed to be, and that nothing about where I was needed to be different. The valley held me. Cheesy, but it just felt good to be there. No more feeling of hassle. I was excited to be at camp.


[A view of camp from the bluffs at the bottom of the valley.]

Being on the third helo load turned out to be a pretty good deal. When we got there, everyone else was busy—and had been, the whole time—lugging around sand bags and rocks to secure tents. The camp was pretty much done. There was a large, round main tent for cooking and eating and organizing, and an army of sleep tents for two people each. I tented with Jane, one of the two teachers on the project. Jane is from Denmark, but has been living and teaching in Nuk, Greenland for the past ten years. And Jane is a kick. Our tent was very close to another tent, which turned out to house Erik and Quintin. “You guys don’t snore, do you?” Erik asked. Jane does. I do, too, sometimes.

We secured our tent with rocks and sand bags, and then I ran out over the bluff to explore before dinner. I mean, how could you not? There was just this nearby bluff between us and the ocean, and how could you not immediately go run over to check things out?


[The coast by our camp.]


[Cool rocks.]


[Darren. And caribou antlers. Apparently the caribou in the valley were over-hunted, leaving none today.]

Sarah made us a great dinner, which we ate excitedly, and while some others went to check out the beach, I went to bed. To tent. Jane was already in there, snoring gently.

Posted by beth at July 18, 2005 10:05 PM

Comments

Hello Beth,

Beauty-full pictures you have here. It was nice to meet you and your friends on the 4th of July at the West End. Too bad that I couldn't make it to your house before you left for Greenland. Call Ryan and let's get together again soon.Say hello to your friends. Take care...Sergio

Posted by: Sergio at August 8, 2005 1:59 AM