The first step in getting ready for my return to the northern Arctic was to get my equipment in order. First, there were hiking boots, then a tent, sleeping bag, air mattress, and very importantly a selection of warm wicking clothes. That done then it was necessary to select a backpack. I did have it fitted at an outdoor store and was hoping that I would be able to carry the 30 to 40 pound required load. Undaunted for nearly 180 miles over a four-week period I trained with the fully loaded pack around the trails of suburban New York. Today as I endured the airplane for a 12 hour trip to Fairbanks I feel prepared but I am also preoccupied about the weight I will finally have to carry when food and safety supplies are added to my pack.
At the small headquarters camp of Arctic Wild, my competent guiding firm; I check all of my gear. I am quite surprised, however, to learn that at the very last minute Arctic Wild has decided not to make air food drops along the route for a variety of legitimate reasons. The downside of this decision, however, is that both my guide and I must carry more weight on our backs.