August 9, 2019
Today we were wind-bound all day and it sucked a lot. Morale was not low, but the immobility took its toll. Boys seem to get more easily frustrated when our progress is stunted. It is not necessarily a case of cabin fever, more so the internal struggle one must endure as they surrender to the elements. The land is changing, the tundra; the barrens; the ceaseless expanse of moss, bushes, rocks, scattered trees, and water. It holds all the cards and carries no remorse or sympathy. We are powerless, thus we must wait.
Paul woke everyone up around 7:00 AM. Rain and wind that had lasted all night kept on strongly through the morning. Granola and coffee for breakfast. We hunkered down and ate in our bug shelter with the mesh door wide open since there were no bugs, not with this wind. I like to imagine all the black flies and mosquitos were either dying or pining over the fact that they could not reach us. It was a cold and wet morning but laughter still filled the air as we discussed a hypothetical plan of wintering over at Fort Enterprise: who would we use our satellite phone minutes to call in regards to log cabin building instructions? The overwhelming response was Timmy Heinle, the only man any of us know who builds log cabins. Ultimately we all agreed that we most likely would not survive a winter at this latitude and would undoubtedly be rescued before that ever became a reality.
After morning chow, everyone went back to their tents to read and/or nap while the wind howled and sporadic sheets of rain painted themselves across our bright orange neon tents. It is hard to imagine a better tent for these weather conditions. For all the bitching we did about the tent being too hot and not bug conducive, we are lucky to have them, now and back at Lake Winnipeg.
We are marooned on the south shore of Singing Lake, east of the stream that flows into Greenstockings Lake. If not for the relentless wind and rain, this would be a delightful place to spend a layover day. The tundra is truly exceptional, simply due to it vastness and desolation. The one word I could use to describe it is “unforgiving.” A place where creatures must survive not inhabit. When traveling through as we are, it becomes clear this is not an environment to hang your hat nor linger a while. The impending darkness and silence of winter is imminent.
Around 11:00 AM I got out of the tent, organized miscellaneous items in the bug shelter, read, boiled a large pot of water for coffee, prepared lunch (with great difficulty on account of compacted tortillas,) and stared into the expanse. Hoping to see any kind of wildlife I saw only birds struggling mightily, practically hanging on a string in their attempt to fly head-on into the wind.
PB&J and coffee for lunch, followed by afternoon activities of cards (500), reading, conversation, and inner turmoil. We have come so far and the end is almost within reach yet we cannot move forward. Devastation.
Zach made teriyaki rice soup for dinner, which was wonderful. We sat in the shelter and chatted about careers and life for a while. We questioned the weather and our sentiments toward movement tomorrow. Everyone is anxious to move but we have the provisions and the time (so we hope) to make the conservative choice. We can afford to stay here another day if the winds do not subside. If that is the case, we are in for the longest and most anxious day yet…cabin fever will likely emerge. Sentiments will change.
Already I can tell I am getting a bit stir-crazy because I am writing predictions in the trip journal. We are so close. All has led to this chapter of our journey. The brutality of our stationary position is comical. Tomorrow we will give a tobacco offering. I very much hope I choose the right words and the Great Spirit hears us. Sunshine, warmth and kind winds. Boys are trying to make some moves.
P.S. Do not go gently into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
This afternoon, Zach had the idea for us all to read from his poetry book. It was an extremely enjoyable experience