Tracks on the ice… We are not alone here

Once in a while the Arctic throws something at you which makes you stop in your tracks and you need a  moment to comprehend what just happens.

Today we had such a moment.
Still being unbearable cold, the first hour out of the tent is the moment of the naked  truth – rested, warm and fed – now you need to face the reality of the day.
Fifteen minutes into our first hour I came across fresh tracks heading straight to our camp.

After taking a closer look, I recognize the tracks of a polar fox, a single set crisscrossing over a wide pan of wind slab.
After a moment of disbelief you wonder what a polar fox is doing out here.
Nothing to eat because everything is frozen for hunting.
Is it just tracking a polar bear and scavenge the scraps of his meal?

Normally you should be wary to see fox tracks but I felt at awe with the presence of another creature roaming around here, we’re no longer alone.

A few hours later while Ann and I were struggling through rubble of ice blocks and pulling our sleds over junks the size of a refrigerator, Martin saw a tern flying over our heads.
First it circled Ann and seconds later it zoomed over my head.
A bird and a fox in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, close to the North Pole, the furthest one can be from any source of food and vegetation.

A tern flies all the way to the Arctic, turns around and flies back to the Antarctic – it travels the greatest distance of any bird in the world.

We were discussing this today.
What is the point?
To go through such effort and then not even enjoying your arrival?
But then again why do you want to spend time here in the absolute freezer box when it is nicer only a few degrees to the south.

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