As if it hasn’t been cold enough here…

(AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Cmdr. Christy Hagen)
(AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Cmdr. Christy Hagen)

Sen. Angus King’s weekend jaunt to the Arctic is not one of those plum overseas trips lawmakers are sometimes known to take in the name of research. Instead, we’d argue, traveling to the middle of the Arctic Ocean where temperatures rarely break zero degrees is the polar (see what we did there?) opposite of cushy.

King (I-Maine) left Friday for an up and back trip to the U.S. Navy Ice Camp constructed in the middle of the frozen ocean to participate in something called the “Ice Exercise.” According to the Navy’s official blog, their last “ice camp” was in 2011, where campers blogged the experience of testing submarines in Arctic conditions.

One of the Navy’s blog posts is answering questions from children whose fathers were part of the mission:

Q: Another asks a related question about how cold it is in the submarine now and whether their father is able to stay warm.

A: Don’t worry.  Your father is nice and warm.  The submarine is at the same temperature as in any other ocean – boats normally keep their thermostat at about 72 degrees and can overcome any outside or seawater temperature.

King’s office said one or two House members were also on the trip, but could not say who. King, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is particularly interested in how the melting Arctic ice can create more waterways for global shipping, according to a release from his office.

So King won’t be dining out at fancy Parisian restaurants on this official trip, but he apparently will be eating well. The Navy blog reports they must eat 5,000 calories a day to offset calories burned from the intense cold. The food, described as “fantastic” is frequently Middle Eastern or Thai.

And, when King returns to Washington next week, the impending spring snowstorm will feel downright balmy.

Colby Itkowitz is a national reporter for In The Loop.
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Colby Itkowitz · March 21