Before the Borealis Paddling Expedition launched earlier this month, three of the five women undertaking the two-month adventure were in Madison to organize and pack their gear and provisions. Starting from Great Slave Lake in Canada's Northwest Territories, the quintet will be paddling and portaging to Kugluktuk, a remote Inuit outpost on the Arctic Ocean, by way of the Emile, Coppermine, Kendall and Rae rivers.
Meg Casey, Nina Emery, Beth Halley, Karen Stanley and Emily Stirr have done this before. As noted in an "All for Camp Manito-wish", this year's expedition is a sequel to their similar 2005 expedition from Wollaston Lake in northern Saskatchewan via a series of rivers to Chantrey Inlet along the coast of Nunavut, at the Arctic edge of Canada's wild northern tundra landscape.
Emery then showed off a variety of gear the team will be sharing, including kitchen accessories, personal locator beacons, a solar-powered battery charger and other cool gizmos.
Casey wrapped up the tour of expedition gear with an overview of the food they'll be carrying. When you are the engine of a two-month wilderness adventure, your fuel is measured in calories and pounds rather than gallons. In addition to fishing for a significant percentage of their diet, expedition members will be cooking elaborate meals from an impressive volume of ingredients, as Casey explains.
The Borealis women are documenting their 2008 expedition, including information about the details of their route, the team members and their goals, along with the Borealis Paddling Expedition Blog where they plan to post updates at least once each week.