There is a lot of travelling involved when doing research in the Arctic. Especially when you are – like us – from a non-Arctic country. Doing research in foreign countries needs a lot of organization: from travel visas to custom forms to shipping freight. It can be nerve-racking, too. Will all the freight and luggage arrive on time? Will all the forms be in order? Will there be any problems at customs? You do not want anything to go wrong because so much time and money has been spent already for the preparation.
We had one of those nerve-racking moments when Stephan’s ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) to Canada was not approved at first. Luckily, a second application went through – otherwise he would have had to stay home. We were compensated on the flight from Frankfurt to Whitehorse with premium views over Greenland. And all is well that ends well: at our arrival at Whitehorse all the luggage was there and no custom problems occurred! In Whitehorse, however, our travels were far from over. We would spend many more days on the road, driving all the way from Whitehorse in Yukon to Inuvik and further on to Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwestern Territories.
1500 km from Whitehorse to Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk
Does it sound crazy? A road trip of about 1500 km on gravel roads all the way from Whitehorse to Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk and back? The road – which only since last year leads all the way to the Arctic Ocean – connects land and ocean and gives us the unique opportunity to see the landscape change all the way from the subarctic to the Mackenzie Delta at Inuvik and finally the coastal landscapes around Tuktoyaktuk. The trip brings together terrestrial and marine scientists and allows us to exchange ideas and methods. Inland, our team plans to investigate sites of permafrost degradation, i.e. where permafrost thaw has disturbed the landscape causing the ground to subside or even collapse. We will measure subsidence as well as the exchange of energy and methane fluxes between the ground or lakes and the atmosphere. At the coast, the marine scientists of our team will investigate submarine permafrost thaw and the release release of methane in the near shore areas.
So much stuff!
Before we hit the road, though, we spend the whole day Monday (August 13) buying food for 4 weeks for everybody, as well as supplies for our equipment such as batteries, cables and chemicals, that could not be shipped all the way from Germany due to safety regulations. When we tried to fit all of our stuff into our two large trucks, the road trip actually did seem a bit crazy. In the end, though, we managed to pack everything and were ready for our big trip tomorrow to drive to Dawson City.
Edited by: Sina Muster