Contents
  Title Page
  Preparations Arizona USA
  Preparations Punta Arenas, Chile
  Day 1: Antarctica!
  Day 2: First Taste of the Wind
  Day 3: Close Call
  Day 4: A Beautiful Day
  Day 5: The Wedge Design
  Day 6: Circle of Survivability
  Day 7: Mountains to our West
  Day 8: Skiing in a White out
  Day 9: Jenny Unleashed
  Day 10: Face Mask Freezing to the Nose
  Day 11: Howling Winds and Rough Terrain
  Day 12: Sledging away from the Maritime Influence
  Day 13: Rocking out
  Day 14: Frozen Face Mask
  Day 15: Coldest and Windiest Place on Earth
  Day 16: Skiing on Frozen Rubble
  Day 17: Tracks!
  Day 18: Slogging into Fierce Headwinds
  Day 19: First Sponge Bath
  Day 20: Playing in the Junkyard
  Day 21: Three Weeks, One-Third of the Distance
  Day 22: Playing in the Junkyard, Part 2
  Day 23: The otherworldly Glowing Blue Light
  Day 24: A Packman Game
  Day 25: The vision must be kept
  Day 26: Frozen Cameras
  Day 27: Low Margins of Safety in Strong Winds
  Day 28: Anomalies in the flat Antarctica myth
  Day 29: Thiels Mountains Visible in the Distance
  Day 30: The Half-Way Point
  Day 31: Mid-Journey Resupply
  Day 32: Sastrugi on top of Sastrugi
  Day 33: Skiing Alongside the Thiels
  Day 34: White Out and Mild-Mannered Sastrugi
  Day 35: Difficult Terrain
  Day 36: Cameras Frozen All Day
  Day 37: Alone in an Immense Wilderness
  Day 38: Warm weather and sleds are dragging hard
  Day 39: Climbing to the Polar Plateau
  Day 40: The Disappearing Hill
  Day 41: Extreme Fun
  Day 42: Seven Down, Three to Go
  Day 43: If your ski tips have no shadow, stop quick!
  Day 44: A Strange Object Flies Overhead
  Day 45: Perils of Crossing a Body-Heat Rubicon
  Day 46: Inspired to Greater Heights
  Day 47: Antarctica's Double Sun
  Day 48: Eight Degrees Down, Two To Go
  Day 49: Skiing in the Tropic of Antarctica
  Day 50: The Sun and its Antics
  Day 51: Short Antarctic Summers Wait for No One
  Day 52: Showers and laundry perhaps? No chance
  Day 53: Gaining the Polar Plateau
  Day 54: Good Weather, Fairly Flat Terrain
  Day 55: Climbing the Same Hill for Three Days
  Day 56: Cold but Very Pretty
  Day 57: Gorgeous Weather, Enjoyable Day
  Day 58: Almost There
  Day 59: The Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station
  The Flight to Patriot Hills
  Patriot Hills
  Mount Vinson
  Patriot Hills
  Aconcagua

Skiing to South Pole

Fierce Winds, Ultra-Cold Temperatures

Adventures in Antarctica

58 days, 700 mi, Nov 2006 - Jan 2007

Ray & Jenny Jardine

2006-12-31 page 54 of 67

Day 51: Short Antarctic Summers Wait for No One

photo

Spindrift pileup against the tent during the night. Without much solar heating during the night, the tent was as cold as an ice box. But we slept warm and cozy in our expedition clothes with the addition of insulated pants - and under our two-layer alpine quilt.

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Jenny packing her sled. The lidded bowls contain our lunch of dry granola to which we will add water. Also on the ground are small bags of high-energy cookie bars for snacking at our standing breaks.

"This was the kind of morning you would rather stay in bed. But the Antarctic summers are short and they wait for no one."

A weather system moved in, and for two nights the sky was cloudy and sun was absent. The solar charger still worked - at a reduced rate, but mainly the natural solar heating, though the walls, did not. Especially combined with the wind. So we spent a couple of cold nights. Last night we even wore our insulated pants. Correction: It was cold in the tent, but we were warm.

Nevertheless, on sunny nights, we normally hang our face masks, gloves, and so forth, from clothes lines on the ceiling to dry. And while Jenny is melting water on the stove and cooking dinner, I write the updates.

Last night we were busy drying things by holding them up to the stove while we were melting water. So my updates were a little short.

This morning was the kind of morning you would rather stay in bed. The temperature was minus 20, the sky totally cloudy, the wind was blowing 15 out of the north, and the air was full of spindrift. And there we were warm and cozy in our insulated pants, in addition to our expedition clothes, and under our Greenland quilt.

But the Antarctic summers are short and they wait for no one. So we began our making-ready routine at our usual hour of 6 am. By 7:00 the sun was shining weakly through what looked like dissipating clouds. We set off at 8:00, and by 11:00 we were skiing in a beautiful day, despite the 10 mph northwest wind.

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The sastrugi was not so much of a problem today. It was everywhere, but much smaller. And the snow was not so deep, maybe half an inch because the wind during the last two days had turned it into ice.

photo

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Our sleds are getting lighter as we use up our supplies, so they are not quite so hard to pull. But we seemed to be climbing, so the day was not so easy, as with them all.

Nevertheless, we enjoyed the day, and we admired the interesting and varied patterns on the surface, made by the wind. The surface was like an art gallery, everywhere you look.

A thought occurred to me that so much beauty down here and the vast majority of it will go unseen because there is so much, and the ice cap is so immense. This is the way the universe works also; so much beauty that we will never see. But still the mind boggles.

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At this evening's camp, the temperature is much the same as last night, but the sun is shining and the wind is still, so the air does not feel cold. Inside the tent we have all of our things hanging up to dry, and we couldn't be more comfortable.

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Hanging to dry on the tent's ceiling: boot liners, socks, and hats.

On this New Year's Eve, Jenny and I wish everybody a happy and rewarding new year. And we hope you are planning your own NFT, however you imagine and would like that to be. Just keep it fun!

Remaining miles to the South Pole: 89.1.

Evening camp: S 88° 41.247' W 84° 50.400'

Today's mileage: 13.1 in 10.5 hrs

Temperature: -20C

The story has 67 pages. This is page 54.
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