Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Japanese Writer Searching for Franklin

Until today, I had not heard the name Yusuke Kakuhata mentioned in the context of the Franklin expedition. His plan sounds almost absurd in its ambition -- to travel overland from Resolute to the Baker Lake area on foot, without either a satellite phone or a GPS transponder.

Mr. Kakuhata, a former newspaper reporter who has received the Takeshi Kaiko award for his nonfiction writing, says he is seeking the answer to the question "What does it mean to travel through an unexplored land?"

I would caution him that, first off, the area he'll be traveling through is not unexplored -- but it is extremely remote, and temperatures in February can be harsh -- at the moment of this posting, it's 13 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, with a predicted low of -29, and blowing snow. He plans to travel in the company of Yasunaga Ogita, who has visited the Magnetic North Pole in 2010, and the Geographic North Pole in 2011, so at least he will have an experienced companion, although it remains unclear what kind of support crew, caches, or other provisions for the unexpected have been made. According to the Daily Yomiuri Online, Mr. Kakuhata says that he "wants to experience the extreme situations the lost team faced and will solve any problems through trial and error." It seems a curious determination -- I only hope that his trek does not place other people -- rescuers -- at risk. It is one thing to seek the mystery at the heart of a lost expedition, and quite another to seek to lose one's self.

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