By Nat Hab Expedition Chief Katrina Rosen
Out on the tundra, we meld into the panorama, observing and attempting to discern particulars. We stay quiet, resembling the hushed silence earlier than winter, wanting to catch sight of the biggest land predator or the tiniest Arctic vole. Initially, we would really feel linked to this seemingly barren area the place we could not see something. But, being a part of this world is profoundly exhilarating.
However let’s be clear: we aren’t invisible right here. Our tracks are etched into the terrain as we traverse the land. The wind carries our expressions of shock and pleasure, and our scent lingers. We inevitably change into woven into the tapestry of future tales.
This previous summer season, I spent a month paddling in Northwestern Ontario with my household. We explored clear, heat lakes linked by historic fur buying and selling trails linked to Churchill and Hudson Bay. I grew to become fascinated with the previous, discovering markings from fur merchants and pictographs from Indigenous folks. On one event, a peculiarly mild rock, warmed by the afternoon solar, drew us in. As I scrambled to research, I uncovered a narrative informed by way of ochre pictographs. This connection to those that got here earlier than was profoundly transferring, a reminder of our place in one thing huge, fragile, and timeless.
Within the Arctic, we encounter Inukshuks, meticulously stacked stones serving as historic navigational guides. They mark sacred locations, point out good fishing or searching spots, and act as message facilities. The Inukshuk symbolized a bigger narrative when it impressed the symbol for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
Observing a feminine polar bear tread throughout the ice, we notice her steps are usually not aimless. She is on a mission, searching and searching for a mate. In accordance with James Raffan in “Ice Walker,” she leaves olfactory messages in her tracks for following males. The bear’s actions and the following interactions supply us fascinating insights into the knowledge left behind.
In 2014, WWF pioneered DNA extraction from polar bear footprints. This non-intrusive approach permits scientists to uncover the genetic make-up of the bear and any extra DNA current. It’s like fingerprinting an impression, an rising science that helps us interpret the tales these imprints inform.
We aimed to depart no hint throughout our paddling journey. And but, we left the imprint of our tent, the scuff of the canoe as we pulled it to shore. Simply because the eagles and black flies observed us, our presence was acknowledged right here, on the sting of the Arctic, on the verge of this wild land.
So, how lengthy will our footprint final if a toddler’s handprint on stone can endure for a whole bunch of years? If we don’t decrease our influence and stay conscious of our actions, what message are we leaving for the longer term, and who will likely be there to learn it?