Welcome to my blog! This is a site where you can keep up to date on my life as a full-time athlete in the sport of cross country skiing. You can expect regular updates throughout the year as I report on training, racing, life in general and maybe even some school. Sponsors, family, friends and fans: Enjoy!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

i2P Baffin Island Expedition: The Akshayuk Pass

I put a lot of thought into how I was going to write this.  Who am I kidding, no I didn't - I always knew exactly what I wanted to get across in this blog update.  I could go on and on with all of the amazing experiences and tales I have from this expedition, but picking and choosing a select few of these would still have this blog update up around the neighbourhood of 10,000 words.  Haha.  Sooo, here is the final blog I wrote for i2P to be posted on Sept. 21st (hopefully):

The most beautiful place on Earth.

"First of all, I can’t say enough about my experience with impossible2Possible on the Baffin Island expedition as a Youth Ambassador.  It was truly one of the greatest experiences of my life! 

I was very inspired from the get-go.  The lineup of guides on the expedition and others involved with the organization were amazing; World class adventurers and everyone very passionate about motivating and inspiring today’s youth.  It was an invaluable experience spending time and learning from the other Youth Ambassadors from across the continent as we faced challenges and hardships both mental and physical together as a team as we crossed the 100km of rugged Arctic landscape.

I learned more over the 2 weeks with i2P than I have ever learned in any 2 weeks in my life; whether it was stories and advice from outstanding athletes and adventurers, practicing media exposure, surviving in a harsh and unforgiving yet stunningly beautiful environment for 9 days, or thought-provoking discussion amongst our youth team and the senior members of the expedition.  It was an incredible learning environment!

I have taken a new perspective on life from my involvement with i2P through meeting and learning from passionate individuals who only hope to inspire others and show that awesomely unimaginable achievements are possible in life.  Being part of this i2P expedition was simply life-changing and I am very fortunate to have been picked as a Youth Ambassador. " 

I am going to leave this update at that and any additional info you want, please visit the i2P site.  And when you see me next I'm glad to go into more detail about the experience!!  Feel free to email too if you want more deets!

The Baffin Expedition site:

The impossible2Possible site:

What an amazing organization!!

There was a total of 14 on the expedition.  Here are the 5 of us Youth Ambassadors from across North America.  (left to right) Amanda Cobbs-Russell (Murrieta, California), Sandi Nypaver (Parma Heights, Ohio), Kathleen Merritt (Rankin Inlet, Nunavut), Tamara Banks (Lombardy, Ontario) and I.

There was a lot of bog to trudge through.  Feared by most, fine by me.  Lots of the greatest cross country skiers from Scandinavia did long training sessions loping through bogs.

There was also a lot of sand.  I would say that almost half of the whole hike was on some kind of sandy terrain.  Here we are actually walking on a giant slab of ice insulated by a thick layer of sand.  The actual glacier has receded far up into the valley in the direction from which I took this pic, but there is still a humongous amount of ice left below.  The lake here used to be about 20 feet higher.  Recently a heatwave paired with unusual rainfall swelled the water level to burst through a bank of glacial moraine to devastate the remaining 30 km of valley with unimaginable ferocity.  Think Lord of the Rings when the elves summon that crazy wave that destroys the ring wraiths.  Something like that I would think, haha.  Water-horses and all.  Man that'd be sweet.

Here is some more of that same lake, Glacier Lake, with a smaller pond in the foreground.  It was actually this neon blue colour!

Over the course of the expedition we were constantly blogging and doing interviews via satellite phone.  The blogging was quite amazing, as we typed blogs on Ray's Macbook and the Iridium satellite phone would send the email as a text message (or something like that).

Big thanks to FSC Architects and Engineers who are helping me out big-time for the 2nd year.

Ray Zahab and Bob Cox, the founders of impossible2Possible and two amazing human beings.

This is the day when my blog was titled, "I'm on a Boat."  Haha.  L to R - Bob Cox, TD, Ray Zahab

And this has got to be my favourite photo from the entire expedition (one of the communal photos I got on my ext. HD).  Ray and Bob.  There's a bit of an inside joke to it, but still hilarious.  The expedition took endless hours of organizing.  Even though the whole expedition and everything surrounding it was so monumental, with so many following it and so much media attention, there was still time to have fun.  Actually, that's all we ever did on this trip, haha.  Good times fo sho.