Day 22: Playing in the Junkyard, Part 2
Those who are following our saga: "blindfolded in the junkyard" may be glad to know we have another practice session for you. And for those who graduated from the last practice session, we are taking things to the next level by asking you to wear skis this time (no more slacking) and also dragging a sled. If you don't have a sled, a large tire will do.
A sled or tire will increase the cardio workout, of course, but its main function is to stop you every chance it gets when it hangs up on every shelf, every hole, and every sastrugi blocking the way. Remember: you are blindfolded and cannot see any of these things. See photo. And unlike previous junkyard sessions, this one will last all day.
"Playing in the junkyard" on our way to the South Pole. In a white out, you can see your partner and your sleds. And in certain conditions you can see the snow up to 12 to 18 inches away from your sled. This is because the light reflected from the sled is different from the ambient light. Hard to imagine, but the terrain around your feet, and ahead, is invisible. So you don't know what you will run into, or off of, next.
We made very slow progress, only 10.9 miles in 9.25 hours. I led all day, until 3:30 p.m., because we're finding that I have a good sense of direction in white out conditions.
Jenny: On the other hand I become horribly disoriented, and I can't even follow my own ski tips.
In retrospect, I should have equipped Jenny with a small gimbaling compass mounted on a support in front of her, where she could keep an eye on it. This is actually common practice with many polar adventurers. We each wear a compass mounted on our jacket sleeve, and I don't need to refer to mine all that often.
With Jenny following resolutely behind, I skied slowly by feel alone, using the ski poles to help judge the terrain. This is not so bad as it sounds. Actually I had a wonderful morning, experiencing the sensory deprivation, which allows all sorts of good thoughts to come streaming in.
Looks pretty clear ahead ... BAM!
But by afternoon I was beginning to tire, because of the constant job of maintaining balance. About 3:30 p.m. the horizon became visible, and Jenny took the lead from there.
The white out is dissipating, so Jenny takes the lead after a very tiring day.
Just before quitting time, the white out began to dissipate, and we could see that we were in a very difficult area of sastrugi. It looked like no-man's land. But we found a nice campsite, and as usual it felt good to get inside the tent, get comfortable, and warm up with steaming cuppas.
Evening camp: S 83° 35.788' W 83° 38.163'
Today's mileage: 10.9 in 9.25 hrs