Hiking back to the landing strip


Expedition to the Torngat Mountains

Day 15: Thursday, August 23
The strongest winds yet

More and more, I feel the need to spend time alone… I get along with everyone in the group, but I need my solitude.

The strongest winds yet came roaring through the valley from the west today. They started as we struck camp, and mounted as we hiked back to the landing strip some two and a half or three hours away. Topping out on a crest became hazardous sometimes with the sharp, sudden gusts.

We arrive at the strip early in the afternoon to find Vinh's tent pitched on the flat. By now, the wind has made walking on level ground quite difficult, and I notice Vinh's tent deforming dangerously in the bluster. We hunker down behind two huge boulders and set up a camp kitchen, waiting for the wind to settle down before putting up our tents. The trout fillets I cut this morning are quickly cooked on a large, flat rock and devoured. I have never enjoyed fish as much as I have in the past few days.

By 6:00 p.m., the wind has shown no sign of abating. We wearily resign ourselves to pitching one tent at a time, taking care to anchor the guypoints with heavy rocks stacked in piles. One of the poles in Vinh's tent breaks in the wind. Fortunately, we have a spare tent. I am extremely concerned to see my tent deform and almost flatten in the gusts of 80 or 90 km/h, and spend a long time adjusting and readjusting lines and fly, all the while thinking of my four-season tent sitting in the closet at home (idiot!). Too tired to bother with our evening meal, Lisette and I slip into our sleeping bags and prepare for a fitful night. The tent deforms alarmingly, and I fear I will get little sleep.

Day 16: The flight home

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