2/16/2011 8:25:30 PM

Maternal Den Study: Final Preparations Prior to Flying North

The weather in central Utah is no help at all in getting one's mind prepared for what lies 3,500 miles to the north; but this is my 10th year of studying polar bears at their den sites so I've got a good idea of how to best prepare. As I scurry around getting things packed, the many mental sticky notes cluttering my mind are coming off, fluttering around, getting lost. I just hope I have everything needed for a safe trip.

Figure in vastness of Alaskan snowscapeJay Olson, a BYU graduate student, is accompanying me north. It's his first time and he has loaded up with cold weather clothing in the hopes of not becoming a statistic or worse, the butt of one of our many stories of the predicaments northern newbies get themselves into. Like us, Jay has been fortunate to receive a donated Canada Goose parka and has no fear of getting cold in that. They are phenomenal coats... I've never been cold, even at 50 below, in mine.

We board our plane and fly effortlessly to Alaska—our homes, friends, and spring-like weather falling far behind.

Photo ©BJ Kirschhoffer.

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