Each summer CMH Summer Adventures hosts a few extra-special guests at the Bobbie Burns and Bugaboo Lodges in what has become known as the CMH Speaker Series. On these trips our guests have the opportuntity to hike and chit-chat with such luminaries as Dr. Roberta Bondar, Canada's first female astronaut, and deep sea scientist Dr. Joe MacInnis. For 2011 we are excited to welcome Polar Adventurer Eric Larsen. I recently chatted with Eric to learn more about his adventures and why he is so taken with the great white north, and south.
Eric, why snow? What was it that attracted you to polar adventures and dog mushing?
Don’t get me wrong, I like being outside in all seasons, but there definitely is something about snow and winter that captured my imagination from an early age. I also read a lot about historical expeditions which only fueled my interest more. I was fascinated by the idea of ‘North’. To me, it seemed like one of the last real frontiers left on our planet. I really like the severity and isolation of these environments. The poles are so vast and so remote that few people have ever been there. It is an incredible experience to travel for days, weeks and months and not see another soul. Winter/polar travel also requires an extra attention to details which I find especially challenging as the consequences of a poor planning or a bad decision can be life threatening.
You’ve recently returned from the adventure portion of your Save The Poles mission. Congratulations! Can you tell us a bit about it?
The Save the Poles expedition was a three part journey to the world’s coldest places – the North Pole, South Pole, and summit of Mt. Everest all in one year. All told, I spent nearly six months in a tent. Each leg posed unique problems – from extreme wind and cold in Antarctica to open water and moving ice in the Arctic to climbing in the death zone on Everest. In the end, there were so many obstacles and dangers that I was simply surprised I was able to pull it all off.
Now that you’ve completed the Adventure portion of the mission, I understand there is a film, book and tour in the works?
I am working with Michael Ramsey from Spoken Image who was part of the Academy Award winning documentary, The Cove, to produce a film about my experiences. As I write this, a microphone and digital recorder is sitting on my desk so that I can record the script that we’ve been working on. The book is a bit further back in the process. We are working on a proposal to submit to publishers. Of course, during all this, I’ve been criss-crossing the continent for speaking engagements of all kinds.
What future adventures have you got planned?
Too many to list here. I’m working on a few ideas – major film project in the arctic, winter biking expeditions and some film/climbing projects on Baffin Island. My goal is to continue to use expeditions to tell the stories about amazing places and inspire people to help protect them.
What can we do to in our daily lives to stop global warming and better understand the impact our actions have on the planet?
One of my expedition mottos is, ‘Begin with one step...’ Climate change is a huge issue where our individual efforts can seem insignificant. However, we must take that first step now and reduce our carbon emissions dramatically. We can do a lot by conserving and improving energy efficiency. Of course, we also need to pursue national initiatives that focus on mass transportation and renewable energy. Together, we have the ability to affect positive change. For more information about what you can do to make a difference, you can check out my web site http://ericlarsenexplore.com/globalwarming/
We are very excited that you will be joining CMH Summer Adventures at the Bugaboos in August 2011. In addition to hiking and walking with guests you will be doing an informal presentation one evening. What can we expect from that show and why is this an opportunity not to be missed?
Bring a warm jacket because there will be lots of cold, ice and snow! I use pictures, videos and stories to make the expedition come alive. I want the show to be so visceral that people leave thinking, ‘Wow, I feel like I just climbed Mt. Everest.’ I guarantee that guests will be awed and inspired. One the best opportunities for guests is the Q & A afterwards, which is an incredible opportunity to dissect the finer points of modern day expedition travel.
Can you tell me about #IcePhoto Wednesday, the Twitter and Facebook trend that you have started?
As I’ve traveled to different places, I’ve begun to amass a collection of winter/cold/ice related photos. IcePhoto on Twitter and Facebook was really a way for me to share these pictures and my love of these places with others. Ultimately, I feel that winter and cold often gets a ‘bad wrap’ - it’s uncomfortable, shoveling is inconvenient, going outside is painful, etc... Ice Photo is really my way to get people to better appreciate how beautiful winter can be, and then ultimately, how important cold, ice and snow is to regulating global climates.
Join Eric Larsen this summer at The Bugaboos, August 23 -26. Be captivated by his stories as he shares the lessons he's learned from his adventures. Be inspired to take your first step into Adventure! Contact CMH Reservations at 1.800.661.0252 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos: Eric Larsen, Polar Adventurer by Eric Larsen