Minnesotans Leave for the Arctic on Storytelling Mission

Updated: 04/10/2013 7:05 AM KSTP.com By: Chris Egert

Wednesday morning a group of Minnesota adventurers will leave for the Arctic.

Their goal is to give a voice to the Inuit people while letting you chart their daily progress, from your computer screen.

The project is called "North of Sixty" – for north of the 60th parallel.

Their equipment sled is about to go from an Afton basement to the Baffin Island, Canada.

For two and a half weeks University of Minnesota Professor Aaron Doering and his 5 member team will pull huge 200 lb sled-packs around 150 miles, not using sled dogs but people power.

"Everything we need for the next few weeks are inside those sleds.  We use back-country skis, and the mukluks from right here in Minnesota," Doering told us.

Their Arctic adventure isn't for sport, but for storytelling.

A U of M project called "North of Sixty" that aims to create videos that weave together both the ecological and cultural history of northern communities.

Dr. Doering explains, "The agenda that we have is to let them share their story, it truly is."

Participant Chris Ripken, is a 9th grade geography teacher at Centennial High School in Circle Pines.

"You can only take so much from a text book, you can only take so much from other forms of media," Ripken explained.  He hopes his students will learn from his adventure, along with others around the world.

They'll upload pictures and interviews every day.  While at the same time dealing with extreme weather, avoiding polar bears, and preparing food. 

PhD student Brad Hosack showed us what’s they’ll be dining on.

Hosack said, “We've got our packs of oatmeal. Our different flavored mashed potatoes that we will add meat sticks to.  Then the next night, there will be macaroni and cheese, with meat sticks in it."

Baffin Island is around 18-hundred miles from Minneapolis, if it was a straight-shot.

But as you might imagine, there are no direct flights between here and there.   

Track their progress at: http://www.n60.co/