Thiel Mountains – rest day
Miles skied – 204 Miles remaining to South Pole – 290.
Elevation Gained from coast – 4,500 feet Elevation at South Pole – 9,500 feet
The big news of the week is that we are on a rest day today! There are even some mountains on the western horizon as a backdrop to our camp. We have some “real” food tonight dropped off in our food cache, and have all been thinking of this day off for at least a week now. There is a cumulative tiredness, that of course will only be partially helped by 1 day off. I am thinking more of 2-3 weeks in Bermuda.
We have accomplished a lot and have earned every mile – there are no free handouts on this trek. We have seen every snow condition imaginable, with the last couple of days the worst – soft snow, just like dragging the sleds across a beach. We are fully into the routine and are at least 1 day ahead of schedule at this point. 12NM per day will get us to the South Pole in another 25 days of sledding.....
It is getting much colder as we gain elevation. General rule of thumb is 2 degrees C lower for every 1,000 feet of altitude gain. Everything outside the tent becomes an effort as the first priority is the keep your hands from freezing, especially when the wind is blowing. Eating food, photography and changing the music on your MP3 player requires pre-planning and speed.
Observations of the week:
- Best laugh of the week.........Ian skiing off after a rest break without his sleds. You’ve guessed it..............11 push ups – all captured on film.
- Best icicles of the week............Bradley (see photo).
- Guide’s definition of a full-on blizzard………. “It’s a searching wind today.”
- The Antarctic sky has no vapour trails.
- It is hard to think of Global Warming when on an expedition such as this. It is more like being in the middle of a new Ice Age. I expect to see the top of the Statue of Liberty or Empire State Building poking through the ice.
- We are putting our Christmas gift orders in. Andy wants a Skidoo and a full tank of gas.
- When you reach a cache of food and fuel, the good news is that you have achieved a big milestone. The bad news is that the sleds now weigh twice as much and of course there is a great big (and long) hill right after the cache.
OK, now back to the sleeping bag...................
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