Greetings from Norman Wells, Northwest Territories, Canada! We arrived just a couple of days ago. Ellen, Van, Dave, and I spent ten days driving all the way from Minnesota. We hauled our twelve sled dogs, two sleds, plus most of our food and dog food in a big trailer. Ten days on the road might seem like a long time, but really all of the planning and preparation for this trip took much longer.
About a year ago we began to research our route and contact people living and traveling in the area. Months ago we began training our two dog teams. Then we had to construct our dogsleds, pack our food, arrange school visits, and gather our equipment.
Now that we are in Norman Wells, we still have our final preparations to make. We will be here for about a week before we hit the trail and there are lots of things to do. We are getting used to the extreme cold and getting the dogs used to the terrain by running them almost every day. We are sorting through our equipment – making sure we have what we need and eliminating things that aren't absolutely necessary. We are talking to local hunters and trappers to ask about the trail conditions from here to Tulita. Dave is shuttling our vehicle and trailer south to Fort Resolution. We will visit the Mackenzie Mountain School here in Norman Wells. We are also researching local animals and plants to share with you on the website.
Our planned route is about 900 miles (1,448 km). This will take us about 80 days traveling by dog team. We will travel through seven communities along the way. If you were going to travel for 80 days, what would you bring with you? Keep in mind that you are traveling in cold weather. . . what would you wear? What would you bring to eat?
We can't wait to begin the expedition and we are so glad that thousands of kids will be traveling with us through the internet! We look forward to the things we will learn, the questions the children will ask, and the important decisions they will make. To join us as we learn about this land in the far north, visit wildernessclassroom.org!