Thursday, August 07, 2008

Seifferts: "Ocian in view! O! the joy."

From the Seiffert family today comes the long-awaited news...
That subject line is a quote from William Clark's field notes when he first saw the Pacific Ocean (the spelling is his) and I thought it might be as good a line as any for Matt and David. Shortly before noon today they reached York Factory, and immediately sent us a Spot Messenger signal, followed by another one about a hundred meters away a few minutes later, followed by another (this one) a few minutes later from inside the grounds of the fort. Matthew explained to me later that this was as close as they could come to shouting their exultation to us. They have done it. Over two thousand miles and God only knows how many paddle strokes, and they have made it from St. Peter to Hudson Bay (actually, the bay is still a half-dozen miles from York Factory, but I think we can allow them this much - they could see it easily from there...)

With their usual impeccable timing, they happened to arrive on a special day at the site (which is now part of the Canadian park system). There was some sort of heritage festival going on, so there were more people there than usual. Some others had also canoed in, but when people learned that Matt and David had come all the way from Minnesota, they were accorded minor celebrity status. They told me that they had indeed taken some photos there, so we should soon get to see what they saw there. They were at York Factory only about an hour and a half, since the plane took them out about 1:00. They called me from Gillam, where they will spend the entire day tomorrow before catching the Winnipeg-bound train from Churchill at about 4:00 Friday morning. They should be getting into the station at Winnipeg about 1:00 in the afternoon on Saturday. Matthew asked me to pass on an invitation to all his new Canadian friends (you know who you are) that if you happen to be in or near Winnipeg at that time, we'll be hanging around The Forks area (which is right by the train station) from about 1:30 to 2:00. He and David would love to see you again and we'd love to meet you.

The guys sounded great on the phone (they would have sounded great to me no matter what) but they are, not surprisingly, quite tired. They took turns standing watch last night for polar bears (they never saw any) - the only night they have done so - and between that and the sleeplessness of the excitement, they did not get too much sleep. I am guessing that tonight they will make up for some of that...