A typical train for moving supplies and equipment consisted of a tractor pulling several sleds. One sled hauled a 45-foot house trailer for crew quarters. Although we pulled a small sled with a generator for the radio and cooking, our quarters were a bit crowded, and the beds were litters (navy style).
We were testing a Letourneau swamp buggy to possibly replace the tractors. I was a test driver on one sled train to the radar base (4 hours on , 4 hours off). We had to run it in low range since it's speed was more than twice that of the tractors. The tires were ten feet tall! I don't know the outcome since I was removed from active duty early due to the winding down of the Korean conflict.
When the bay and fjord ice broke up, we used landing craft to transport equipment and supplies to our take-off camp at the head of the fjord.The Corps of Engineers worked most of the summer building a test road up the cap at TUTO. I never knew why.
The semi-permanent camp at TUTO. Typical landscape on the icecap in July
The nearest thing to a sunset on the cap in early August. Trail left by our sled train as we headed for the radar base at less than ten MPH.
Camp Sierra out on the cap. Each year the camps were deeper into the ice.
Finally we arrived at the radar base (Site 2), but it is barely visible. I wonder how far down these buildings are now.
We had to go through snow tunnels to get from building to building. I also climbed down 150 feet into a research well. Although electric lights were strung all the way down, I got very claustrophobic and scampered up the rope ladder like a squirrel.
One of our weasels broke through a snow bridge on the road to TUTO. Naturally the drain plugs were removed, so water came into the hull. With a tow from another weasel, no real harm done.
Some of my drunken buddies sneaked away about 2 A. M. from the officer's club to see a crevasse, so I went as the designated weasel driver. The crevasse was called "Blueice", and was being studied by scientists from Tufts College (now University I think). They never woke up while we were there. They were asleep in their wanigans (small living quarters on sleds).
Beach Camp, our take-off camp at the head of Wolstenholme Fjord.
We had organized softball leagues that played all hours of the sunny night.
Arctic flowers on top of Mt. Dundas in June (with my GI pocket knife for relative size).
Sunset over the cap when we started losing approximately 20 minutes of sunlight per day.
One of the unusual and beautiful sunsets at Thule.
I'll sign off with a beautiful sunset over Saunders Island. If you explore this site and would like to comment or send info, email me at: [email protected]
For other interesting sites, go to Larry's Thule (BW-6) site; www.geocities.com/Yosemite/4466
or John's Narsarssuaq (BW-1) site: www.members.xoom.com/JCStott/bw1.html
Another interesting site is the WW II P-38 that was recovered 50 years after crash landing on the icecap. Glacier Girl Gazette publishes the status of the restoration taking place in Middlesboro, Ky. www.thelostsquadron.com/ggg.html
A couple of great sites to learn about Thule are, www.50megs.com/thuleab and Peregrinefund.org
Also check out the Thule Forum a great place to talk about your adventures and make some new friends!
For more great pictures and information on Thule visit www.bdbrewer.homestead.com