Day 46: Inspired to Greater Heights
Hoarfrost crystals in the tent's vestibule.
Today's weather was very nice, with sun mixed with clouds, and a light wind (3-5 mph) from the east. Because the wind was very light, the cold (-22C) did not bother us.
The double sun is still with us.
Showing the frost on the inside of my goggles. The lenses are iced-over too. The ice is the result of sweating and we try to regulate that as best we can, by adjusting our layers and opening the zippers. Meanwhile, we both carry two pair of goggles, and when one ices up, we switch to the other pair. When we don't think we will need the iced-up pair again that day, we retire them into our sleds, where the ice never melts. So we sometimes have to wear the used pair backwards on our heads. Worn this way, the ice will melt in two hours at best. When it does, we switch again. But note that strong winds do a good job of preventing the sweating and the iced-up goggles. The icing occurs when the winds are light.
We've been climbing about 150 to 300 feet a day, and we are currently at about 8,300 feet. So technically we are on the polar plateau. But we still have about 1,000 feet to climb, as the South Pole is at 9,300 feet.
The sastrugi was rough about half the day, but not bad otherwise. But we had 1 to 2 inches of powder snow on the ground, and that made the sledging more of a workout.
As of yesterday we were 3/4 of the way, and this evening we have 149 miles left.
A cold lunch stop. Because of the cold, a real quick lunch stop.
We are using a Garmin GPS with lithium batteries, and it is the only piece of our tech gear that will withstand the cold. It comes out of my inside ski jacket pocket often covered in frost and ice, and yet it works every time.
As I ski along, I think constructively on all sorts of topics. One of them is a book I plan to write, tentatively titled "My Pic'ho Story." This is a personal story of an unfortunate injury that happened a little more than a year ago (2006-09-20); of how I recovered from it; and of how it inspired me to greater heights. In the last year we have climbed our local mountain Pic'ho more than 100 times, learned to kite ski, and gone to Greenland for sledging and kite skiing among several other trips. And now here we are in Antarctica! I think the story will be of interest to the general audience, not just outdoor types. This book will not be about philosophy, religion, spiritual transformation, or even wilderness connection. It is about real events.
Evening camp: S 87° 48.974' W 86° 28.521'
Today's mileage: 12.3
Altitude: 8390 ft., Temperature: -22C