Stories of Shrub Logistics

Hello from the sunny North (Inuvik, NWT)!

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the Team Shrub Qikiqtaryuk – Herschel Island 2016 field season, as Jakob and I (Santeri) fly out to the island 26 hours ahead of Isla, Andy & the remaining gear. Tomorrow also marks the end of a very arduous, yet rewarding, period of Team Shrub spring logistics. Technically this journey already started in the end of the 2015 field season, and has lasted throughout the winter with many collaborators giving their best efforts to the TS cause (Thank you everyone! You know who you are 🙂 !). I will however only describe the tales of packing, switching, repacking, moving, hauling, purchasing and shoving,from the start of June when Andy, Isla, Jakob and I met at Whitehorse for the first time.

Packing in Whitehorse at the Grabowski front lawn before the journey down the Alaska Highway to Haines Junction and onwards to the Kluane Lake.

The logistics efforts started in Whitehorse, where one of the bigger items to be purchased was a gas (petrol) pump, which was to be hauled to the Kluane Lake Research Station to pump water to the Common Garden. After a respectable effort from the Team; the pump, over a 100m of hose, all of our personal items and even ourselves, fit into our wee Chevy (pictured). Luckily, we had been upgraded at the car rental the day before, as arriving to Whitehorse, we were all stuffed in a small sedan wondering how to bend time and space and luggage…

After a wonderful night at the Grabowski’s and a delightful drive down the Alaska Highway we arrived to the Kluane Lake Research Station. Here, TS updated the storage inventory, sorted flights, tended to the Common Garden (which included installing and uninstalling the pump), played rugby on the beach, setup satellite phones, performed a thorough phenology review of the garden, visited the Ice Fields (stay vigilant of a post about the trip!) and started the eternal ziplocking of little things into larger bags into even largerer bags.

After a lovely five days in Kluane, the next stop was to be Whitehorse again. Before the flights to Inuvik, the items that could not be found above the Arctic Circle had to be planned, purchased and bagged…

The story of the Pump that was. This little guy did well for 200 litres of pulling and pushing water up to the Common Garden from Kluane Lake, before coughing up its last fumes and quitting on us. We’re not mad wee Pump… We’re just disappointed.

The next days in Whitehorse involved a lot of burying our faces into our hands, pulling of hair and muted screaming in the efforts to purchase all essentials before the Inuvik flight. In the end however, as always, the Team pulled through and everything on the list was eventually bought. Including these items beginning with the letter C: cheese grater, can opener, camp toaster, cheese slicer, crocs, Catan, coffee, constipation medicine, contact lens solution, cards (SD) aaand choice tea. Also a cup.

The following week, we then spent in Inuvik preparing for the eventual & long-awaited departure to Herschel Island (departure now only 9h away). During the first days, after yet another upgrade on the size of our car (pictured), TS frantically zoomed around town in attempts to track down all of the packages delivered for us in Inuvik – before the epic food shopping on the weekend. The aforementioned car – a beast called the YUKON XL (though Inuvik is Northwest Territories duh) – would prove very essential in hauling the industrial loads of beans and bagels from Stanton’s to our storage facilities at the Aurora Research Institute, and onwards to the airfield hangars.

The beauties and the Beast

I can happily state that all of our deliveries (including but not limited to: drones + equipment, quinoa and satellite phones) have arrived, with all of the food shopping completed as well. We are now officially and nutritionally prepared for the coming two months at Herschel Island (as authenticated by the iPad and all of its to-do & shopping items checked over).

I will leave you with a few interesting numbers from the Stanton’s food shopping days: 1200 slices of toast, 36 cans of chick peas, 336 granola bars, 42L of UHT milk, 283.5L of water, 25kg of cheddar cheese, 96 apples, 360 spinach wraps & 1 can of pineapple.

See you in August!

by Santeri

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