I was warned. Warned that returning home from a long expedition is not something to be taken lightly. Luckily I half listened and have made it through the two months since we got off the ice without too much drama.
One cannot underestimate what a heavy toll a long expedition like this takes on you not only physically, but also mentally. We traveled over 1000km over 65 days in what was possibly the trip of a lifetime. It was a steep learning curve filming in a very harsh environment, always on the move and dealing with the added complication of wrangling our sled dogs during filming. The dogs favourite activity was running straight towards the cameraman who was often the only point of reference on the featureless sea ice.
Ellesmere Island delivered. Wow! Is all I can say. We had a polar bear coming by to check out our camp. We saw over 60 arctic wolves, who were very interested in our canine companions. Arctic hares were so tame you could walk right up to them. Shaggy herds of prehistoric looking Musk Oxen formed their defensive walls when we got too close.
Since returning to Norway Toby and I have been doing some talks about the expedition to school children and at a mountain music festival. We even appeared on national television on a ‘summertime’ talk show, which was quite an experience. My Norwegian is just about good enough to understand what people are saying to me, but for complex stuff I have to answer in English. So its a Norwegian interview where this strange guy answers everything in English! We are trying to track down the link for that and will post soon.
My body is just about back to normal, although I still can’t run without discomfort. Summer in Norway meant that I gained back lost weight almost instantly and any signs of frostbite on my face have healed completely.
I am currently wading through almost 70 hours of footage in preparation for our film which will air on TV2 in Norway around Christmas time. In the next few weeks I will write more gear specific posts about how it all held up at -40 as well as hard earned tips for filming in the cold.