Only two months after their riveting gold medal comeback, two members of the national women’s hockey team have begun another daunting challenge.
According to True Patriot Love, the organizing charity, 53 Olympians, business leaders, injured soldiers and guides add-up to be the largest such expedition in history. The attempt involves roughly two-weeks of cross-country skiing, in brutally cold temperatures and almost 24-hour daylight. And it’s all to raise awareness for the many challenges Canadian soldiers face, including operational stress injuries like post-traumatic stress disorder or depression.
It’s not easy to get that far north. The group flew from Ottawa to Iqaluit on Saturday, and after a stopover, landed in Resolute (Bay) later in the day. With Ouellette and Lacasse in the group, the handful of acclimatization days before pointing their skis north involved a little hockey. In between short outings to get used to the thinner air and ski set-up, they also fit in a presentation to some local youth and a community hockey game.
“One of the kids on the bench told me that it was the most amount of people he’d ever seen in the arena. Caro and I loved talking to some of the kids about their love of hockey and their future plans,” commented Lacasse on the expedition’s blog.
With ceremony set aside, the trek will turn its focus to the Magnetic North Pole. After acclimatization completes, the group will fly to within 100 kms of their destination and begin. It’s the frozen north and no place to mess around. The group will have to stay dry and stick together to guard against confrontations with roaming polar bears. Despite having three days beforehand, there are also concerns about altitude-related issues. Not to mention its about the most hard-core camping you can imagine. Apparently spiking a tent on frozen earth isn’t particularly easy.
The team has a Google Trekker to collect photographs for the search engine, plus a documentary film team and a few journalists to cover the journey. The group will be checking-in every few days via satellite phone.
Photos courtesy: True Patriot Love’s Facebook page