GRAND MARAIS ADVENTURER RETURNS TO GREENLAND, BEHIND DOG TEAMS ‘PULLING FOR THE PLANET’
Source: Duluth News Tribune (Extract)
Posted: January 22, 2021
Lonnie Dupre says he knew at a young age that he is different from other people when it comes to being in cold places like Greenland, where he is right now.
He loves it.
Growing up on a small vegetable farm near Centerville, Minnesota, just north of the Twin Cities, Dupre said he dreaded the summers, not just for the field work but for the warm temperatures. Mind you, this was Minnesota, not Florida.
“I just didn’t do well. I got terrible heat rash. I broke out in hives. I didn’t like the heat at all. … It’s still why I never go south of Duluth,” Dupre said with a chuckle.
But he loved winters growing up in Minnesota in the 1960s and 1970s, back when Minnesota winters were colder and longer.
“When the lakes froze up and snow covered the ground, I could skate and ski and sled. That’s what I loved best. There was more room to explore,” said Dupre, now 60 and still loving cold climates.
Already in Greenland
Dupre will get plenty of what he loves most — cold and snow and ice and sled dogs — over the next four months. He left Minnesota on Jan. 16 bound for Copenhagen and landed in Greenland on Tuesday. He flew on Wednesday to Qaanaaq in far-northwestern Greenland, his base camp for several months.
He will spend the rest of winter and spring retracing some of his Greenland expedition from 2001, when he and Australian John Hoelscher circumnavigated the entire nation, by dogsled and by kayak.
His group on this expedition includes a filmmaker and a sound technician from Germany and two experts in Inuit culture from Denmark who also speak the Inuit language.
“We’re going to have two dog teams. I’m going to get them from some of the Inuit hunters, probably 22 dogs in all,” Dupre said in a phone interview just days before leaving Minnesota.
He’s back in Greenland to see what’s changed over the past 20 years. And he’s already worried about what he’s been told he’ll find. Climate change is rapidly changing the lives of the polar Inuit people who he has come to love and respect in his northern travels.
Dupre’s expedition will base-camp in Qaanaaq and travel by dog team to three other small Inuit villages, including Siorapaluk, the northernmost permanent village on Earth.
His goal is to produce a documentary film, tentatively called “Pulling for the Planet” — worthy of Netflix, PBS, the BBC or another outlet that will allow the whole world to see how the culture of the Inuit is changing. But, he won’t focus on the obvious melting of sea ice and glacial ice. Instead, he’s focusing on the people who depend on ice to survive, many of the same people he met on his trek 20 years ago.
“I don’t want this to be just another downer movie about climate change. … I want it to be a story about people and how their lives are affected,” Dupre said.
Second leg of expedition
At the end of Dupre’s Greenland trip, he’ll be sending off another expedition. Two Canadians — Dupre’s partner, Pascale Marceau, and Scott Cooks — will join American filmmaker Jayme Dittmar as they ski along Canada’s Ellesmere Island.
They will go by Dupre’s dog sled teams out the the frozen Baffin Bay sea border between Greenland and Canada where they will ski west, backtracking the route of Inuit shaman Qitdlarsuaq, who migrated with his people from Baffin Island to Greenland in the 1860s.
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