No Turning Back

This is the third day in a row with significant snowfall

The Yukon ice is solid enough now to drive on

 

30 degrees. Snow depth: 3 inches.

I know my Texas friends think I am crazy, but how fortunate I am to experience winter life in the Arctic with Lindsay happily at my side! It is dark out now as I walk to school and my breath is beginning to fog my glasses. I will try laboratory goggles tomorrow morning. A faint moon glow filters through the overcast and ghost-lights my path through the woods between home and school, so I don’t need to use my headlamp yet. I arrive, walk up the stairs, reach out to open the door and notice that I am thoroughly dusted in snow; I look like a living snowman!

A friend has agreed to drive us to work whenever we want a ride and Lindsay gratefully accepts most mornings, but the chilly half mile is good exercise and centers me so I continue to walk. The snowfall whispers, nearly indiscernible. A pungent smell of woodsmoke intermingles somewhere with the aroma of frying moose. Snow scrunches under my boots. Snowflakes prick my cheekbones and I catch them in my mouth. Fingers of frigid air reach downward into my lungs; my nasal passages fight back by swelling shut against their icy touch. I walk faster but my lungs begin to labor so I slow down again to keep from hyperventilating. My clothing admirably resists the cold; all except my gloves and socks which already seem to be unequal to the task of protecting my extremities. I’ll use them for a bit longer, but when subzero weather arrives I will switch to mittens with felt liners and break out my heavy Wigwam socks.

Thank you, Ralph and Virginia, for the loan of your Antarctica windbreakers. They have really come in handy!

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