We arrived back in Barneo last night expecting to set up our tents for one last night in the cold but to our surprise there was room available in one of the big heated airstrip tents. The luxury of heat made us almost delirious but the truth is none of us slept very well. After so many nights sleeping in the intense and humid cold our bodies just could not get used to the overheated tent. We had been so happy to reach the North Pole that we spent too much time with our gloves off taking photos, video, etc. Unfortunately we all suffered from minor frost bite and the sudden exposure to the heat in the tent made our fingers swell up.
Just after we updated the blog yesterday a helicopter arrived with a surprise guest; a couple of government officials from a region in Northeastern Siberia called YAMALO-NENETS. They came to the North Pole for a dedication ceremony and asked us to join them for salted dry fish, hot wine and vodka. Life is full of the most unexpected surprises. After the celebration they invited us to share their helicopter for the return trip to Barneo.
Another surprise happened when we walked into tent last night. I saw a women in the distance checking her equipment. As we approached she looked up and I realized it was our good friend Wendy Booker who Mary and I climbed Mt. Washington with about 10 years ago. Wendy is leaving tomorrow on the One Degree Dog Sled Expedition. She has an amazing and inspiring story, worth taking the time to read.
I will start posting photos in the next couple of days but for now we are just hanging out, exchanging with scientists and enjoying our last day on the ice.