An Introduction to the Anatomy of a Cricket
In April of 2017 four French men and two Americans put their heads together to live in a winter backcountry adventure close to the Canadian border, far enough from Haines Alaska to make a mother squeamish. Our expedition crew included Zach Clanton, Thomas Delfino, Leo Taillefer, Jeanremy Ceron, Pierre Frechou and myself. We were set to feel what the world in Alaska had to offer, our eyes and the cameras focused on a majestic mountain face named Storm Troopers.
This view of Storm Troopers was initially captured six years ago as Zach Clanton and I got our first glimpse of this mysterious mountain from inside the fuselage of a 1955 Cessna bush plane named Charlie. Since you can no longer ski this face by use of a helicopter, Zach and discussed the potential of a human-powered mission. We were first tasked with developing the skills needed to seek its grandeur. We also needed a team equipped to live in its proximity long enough to capture its steep aesthetic and humbling technical attributes.
Our April expedition was unlike some of the past. Usually remote trips in Southeast Alaska are known for gale force winds and lengthy snow storms. Plane camping, can feel like glorified car camping, and we were blessed with twelve days of sun with only intermittent skiffs of snow and wind.
Between storms and during recovery days I spend time replenishing calories and reading nonfiction accounts of men suffering in the mountains, similar to my own situation. This type of reading helps me to stay focused on paying attention when outside the tent. Unlike the adventures I was reading, however, the calories we consumed were packed with cricket protein. When we made oatmeal, for example, we flavored them with either vanilla or chocolate cricket protein powder. And when the wind interrupted our reading and writing, threatening to rip the tent apart, Chapul’s cricket-based energy bars were perfect snack to store in our puffy coat for a casual nibble.
"As a dreamer in the body of a realist, my visions often flood into view" - Cricket Jedi
After eating the cricket bars for fuel, we gave thanks to the crickets for providing the protein and nutrients needed to sustain life for the storm trooper adventure. Sustainable food sources are rare, and to have access to such clean energy is the true gift of this generation.
As we spent more and more time in the tent I began to wonder how it would be to view our situation as a cricket would. A cricket's head contains two ergonomically compound hexagonal eyes and three simple eyes. Simple yet efficient, the eyes of a cricket evaluate lightness and darkness. Their compound eyes also allow them to see in multiple directions at once. Through this lens,I see life as spontaneous and vast, encompassing all living creatures. To have a structure so small and still consist of intricate physical components is astonishing.
On the twelth night I was kept awake by an energy. The only light was of Zach’s headlamp as he tried to read, but my anxious words quickly interrupted his literary focus. When this sudden rise in energy consumes you it is wise to take a peek outside, so I moved to seek what was past the tent zipper. The aurora borealis flashed from light to dark in a star-riddled sky. It was time to scream for everyone in camp to wake and take in the solar flares lighting the atmosphere with green, purple and pink.
The antennae of the Orthoptera species allows it to feel and smell its surroundings. I can only imagine a much more intimate sense of feeling is achieved when the world is 1,000 time bigger than what a human encounters. I can only think life is as spontaneous and vast as all living creatures. To have a structure so small and still consist of intricate physical components is astonishing. Moving from the confines of the tent and stepping outside and seeing a never-ending sea of snow-covered peaks is very stimulating. Of course the smells are much better outside the tent. But it is the tone of our objective that had much contrast. As morning light shone on the Storm Trooper face it made a dream-like image as shadows overlay the defined and rippled snow caped cliff walls. We look like crickets crouched beneath a boulder.
Guest Author: Tony Pavlantos @tonypavlantos
Stay tuned for "The Thorax". How to prepare for living life in one of the most remote settings possible.