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Arctic Trek

By Lori Gaudet

© Jan 2008



Footing was treacherous, and the icy blasts of wind froze us to the core, as we made our way delicately across the surface of hard crusted snow.  The frozen ice crystals crunched loudly beneath our boots with each careful footstep.  Blinded by the brilliance of the bright sunlight flashing off the white snow, it was difficult to see as we watched where we lay each footstep.


Previous to our perilous journey, a warm spell had started to thaw the fluffy white snow.  A subsequent cold turned those softened flakes into a layer of hard crust which looked deceptively like its former glory of pillow-soft down carpeting the landscape.


As we walked along this brilliantly white hard crust, we held our breaths, shielded our eyes from the blinding reflection of the sunlight, and tried to be as light as we could.  A sudden crack jarred the quiet day.  We looked at each other fearfully, knowing all too well what that ominous crack under our feet meant.  Someone had cracked the too thin layer of frozen crust.


Reaching, I grabbed the hand of the smallest member of our party just as the crusted snow beneath her boots gave way, caving in beneath her.  She fell through to the deep powdery soft snow beneath the crust, disappearing in its white depths as though beneath the waves of a silent ocean.  Luckily, I still had a firm grip on her hand and pulled her to safety on top of the hard crusted snow.


Eventually, we made our way to the safety of the giant trees.  But safety was not yet to be had.  There, we found the great hole of the furry dweller of one of the trees.  Luckily enough he was sleeping and did not appear to give us any trouble.


Soon, another peril found us as we gripped to the rough crags of bark of the great tree.  First one, then another of our little party vanished.  Vanished!  They were there one moment, and gone the next.  They have fallen into the great crevices in the bark of that gnarled old tree.  With great trepidation I searched for my two partners, almost becoming lost myself within the crevices and trunks of the great tree.  A monstrous twisted creature that, in truth, was not one tree, but four with the trunks fused and grown together at the base.


I found first one of my party, and then the other.  Finally, we began to make our way back across the thin layer of frozen crust.  We staved off the grumblings of our hungry bellies by crunching on broken shards of the snowy crust we walked upon, taking care that it was clean snow of course.  We almost lost all three of us into the depths of powdery snow as the crust gave way beneath our feet on that homeward trek.  We scrambled and struggled constantly back onto the relative safety of the frozen crust as it continuously cracked and gave way beneath our feet.


At last, we were nearing the safety of our home base.  The first of our party made it safely indoors and out of the icy blasts of wind.  But, she inadvertently released the beast that lay in wait trapped inside.  Without a care for its own safety, this huge monster barreled out past her, almost knocking her to the ground in its rush, the great hairy monster leapt with all its weight onto the fragile ice crust, breaking through.


But that was not the end of the monster.  It had no fear of crashing through that crust to the white powder beneath.  It just kept coming, thrashing as it continually crashed through the cracking snow crust.  The creature circled us clumsily, loping off and returning to circle us again.  We eyed it carefully, knowing it would soon charge.  And charge it did, almost taking out the smallest member of our party in its clumsy run across the broken morass of broken icy crust and powder soft snow.  As it ran past I pounced at the creature, wrapping my arms around its struggling body in a wrestlers embrace, pinning it to the ground.  The creature squirmed and fought, and the two of us wrestled it back to where we had it previously captive.  This hairy beast would bear closer watching.


The three of us survived our adventure – this time.  Now, as we three girls sit in the warmth and safety of our home base, the hairy monster laying snoring at my feet, we feast on our lunch and plan our next adventure.

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