Snowed in
Adventurers survive four-day blizzard

by Ian Elliot
Northern News Services

INUVIK (Jan 30/98) - Four adventurers undertaking a month-long snowmobile tour of Alaska, the Yukon and the NWT got their first tastes of frostbite, coastal blizzards and makeshift Arctic housing last week.

Julian Tomlinson, Seemee Nookiguak, Paul Iquallaq and John Roland, who left Inuvik last Tuesday on a journey through the Northern wilds, spent four days huddled in a trailer at an abandoned DEW line site after a storm caught up to them just after they left Herschel Island.

"We all got a bit of frostbite on our faces and the wind was just howling. You couldn't see your hand in front of your face," said Tomlinson on Monday from Kaktovik, Alaska, an hour before they departed for the 200-kilometre trip to Deadhorse.

The storm did not clear for four days. When it finally did, they made the 160- kilometre leg to Kaktovik in one day, with navigator Roland guiding the team from the DEW site to the town using traditional snowdrift navigation.

The four had spent a day exploring Herschel Island and stayed in a cabin there that had been ransacked by a polar bear, which had vomited copiously after trying to eat a box of laundry soap.

"We spent about four hours just cleaning the place up," Tomlinson said.

The team is linked to hundreds of schoolchildren through the Internet and carrying out experiments designed by the children. The four are also evaluating traditional and modern equipment and travel routes through the area.

Updates on the team's progress can be found at the Aurora College website.