As I fly from Ottawa to Iqaluit, I notice my free copy of “Up Here” magazine in the seat pocket in front of me. After a few days, hanging out indoors, waiting for a blizzard to die down, I start to read back issues of the magazine. The August 2015 issue had an article by Tim Edwards (p 42-50) entitled ‘From the West to the Wilderness‘.
“Europeans arrived in North America looking for wealth and the Pole. Explorers defied death for glory. What drives today’s adventurers ?”
The article begins with the Franklin Expedition, and then talks about Frederick Cook and Robert Peary “who were welcomed as kings by governors and the public alike, as they stopped In various ports on their way home from the North Pole.”
“Now the world is mapped and the heroes of old are long in their graves. When people go missing in the High Arctic, we consult SPOT trackers, we send out search and rescue missions that last days, not years.”
“Sarah McNair-Landry and Erik Boomer and their dog team spent 120 days circumnavigating Baffin Island. Their goal was to retrace a journey by McNair-Landry’s parents took twenty-five years earlier.”
“Gear and communications are leagues above what it used to be. When Franklin’s ships were lost, other ships were commissioned to follow the route and find the crew – who were stuck in some unknowable corner of the Arctic Archipelago – at their own peril.
Today adventurers have SPOT and InReach devices, satellite phones and helicopters can extricate them from tight spots.”
Today, 2018, with new underwater technology, the wrecks of the Erebus and Terror have been found. Many books have been written on Arctic exploration and its historical context, whether from the European or American point of view. A new history is being written by modern-day adventurers, combining traditional transportation and knowledge, with modern technology, and from a variety of disciplines.
“Whereas early explorers brought European society to the Americas and 20th-century explorers were out to leave a legacy and gain high esteem. Today’s explorers are mostly unknown outside adventure travel circles, looking for not much more than to leave society and experience the world in its natural state.”
Up Here. The Voice of Canada’s Far North. Published by Canada North Airlines.
Specific back Issue. August 2015. Article by Tim Edwards. From the West to the Wilderness. p. 42-50.
Check Canadian North web site for upnorth.ca
For US perspective,
Michael F. Robinson. 2006. The Coldest Crucible. Arctic Exploration and American Culture. University of Chicago Press.
There are many books written about the European perspective on Arctic exploration and the prevailing European culture.
Today, my son headed out for a four-day trip via dogsled team, across sea ice and through a blizzard. Garmin technology allowed him to track and relay his position, average speed, distance traveled, maximum elevation, and time, and send-receive text messages. As I was unable to access these via my computer, I worked with Edward in Nova Scotia to relay that information back to me.
As noted by the Up Here magazine writer, Tim Edwards, “Gear and communications are leagues above what it used to be.“