Saturday, March 17, 2012

Last minute silly season planning: Arctic 1000 maps and miles

By the way, every square on the 1:250,000 quads below is six miles (i.e., 10 km, not five miles as some seem to think).

Walking up the Wulik was second choice. First choice would have us leave from Pt. Hope but bad weather prevented us from landing there.

Crossing De Long Mountains we saw much wildlife -- wolverine, bears, caribou, birds -- but not too scenic.

Fantastic walking on these ridges. Best a little below on subsidiary ridges that offer water to drink and less exposure to blasting wind.

After Ryan left, we headed east into boggy, tussock uplands between Colville and Utukok. Following the Colville wasn't much better.

Lookout Ridge was great walking. Saw another wolverine here.

Among the worst travel of the trip: tussocks off Lookout, swimming the Colville and Ipnavik, more tussocks, mosquitoes, and the first shin high willows. Also the remotest spot in the USA.

Bugs came out as green up hit so thankfully this was fantastic ridge and gravel bar walking.

The stretch into the mountains and across them to the Killik and beyond followed caribou trails for 20 miles, non-stop. Perhaps the longest continuous animal trails I have followed.

The grind into Anaktuvuk started fast then bogged down in tussocks and wet willow brush.

This is the Anaktuvuk to Haul Road stretch. Solo, fast and a bit sentimental. Also radically scenic.

So here's a little R graph. I plotted our cumulative distance as function of day since start, the fit a quadratic through the points and the origin after finding that the intercept was not significantly different from zero.

Even before that the curve was a nice fit, with an R-square of "triple nines".

So the quadratic gave me where we were from the start as a function of day, so the derivative gave me speed as function of day.

So on average we made 19.37 miles per day + 0.57 (miles/day/day)* days. That is, we accelerated as our packs lightened up by about 0.6 miles per day each day.

Not what I'd expected exactly, 25 years ago when I first dreamed a trip like this up, but heh.


  1. What software do you use for mapping, Roman?


    1. TOPO! for Alaska, although it doesn't work on the new Mac OS, so I have to use an old 'puter.

  2. Presumably less weight increases distance/day, while cumulative fatigue decreases it. (Thinking of your one less pound equals one more mile per day thesis from BPL.) Would be interesting to see how those factors generalized over a range of trips, though controlling for terrain would be problematic.

    1. Dave, For a number of years, I have fund that my conditioning improves as a trip goes along (this being on trips of less than Skurka magnitude, i.e. in the sub-month category).

      It'd be nice to make an extra mile per day...

  3. This is awesome, Roman. Not only because it shows exactly what you did, so one can learn routefinding, etc, but also the level of planning you undertake on a trip of this scale and how one shouldn't stop when they return home. Look back at what you did and apply everything you can learn from it to your next adventure.
    Thank you... and I agree with Dave. I would have expected the one mile per day increase, as well, but this is highly dependent on soooo many things... physical condition, weather, tussocks, bear encounters (ha!), or how many times you have to sew your shoes back up and slow the group down. jk :)

    1. Josh, yep, it's the details on the return that make your trip something to share, really. Otherwise the trip was just a selfish one.

  4. Thanks for sharing this, Roman. There is little that keeps me more interested than a set of maps. I also particularly enjoyed the objective breakdown at the end. I presume this is something you did just recently or did you do that immediately after the trip? It is a nice addition to the depth into which the three (or at least you and Ryan) of you looked at this trip regarding weight / distance traveled before and afterward.

    1. Sam,

      I had looked at this relationship before (i.e. during the intellectual unpacking so-to-speak), but have recently been using a new stats package and really enjoyed using it for this application. Unsure why I didn't post the maps earlier, but someone asked for tim so I thought I'd just post them, here, too.

  5. Always interesting to find another R user in the wild - especially when they have similar proclivities...



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