Today was the REAL start to the adventure!
Knowing I was going to be flown to the Messner start point today, I had a bit of a restless night in the tent, and woke at 05h30, to a strong wind, that reduced outside temperatures to around -20 C and I was thinking that these are not the conditions I was hoping for Day 1! Anyway, it was good wake up call, and shocked me away from the 'beach weather' mindset I'd almost been lullled into believing was what the trip would be about. I then went into a bit of a headless chicken panic, thinking of what to wear and all the normal pre-adventure 'worries'. I have to admit I was feeling very apprehensive and confused. Anyway, a cuppa coffee and some quite time thinking through it all, switched me back into excitement mode.
Magically, 1 hour before we were due to fly, the wind droopped and my world looked a lot rosier...
The two-hour flight in a cramped Twin Otter to the start point started with truly magnificient Antarctic mountain scenery, andd then there was an hour of true nothingness, before we circled and found the official start point, and touched down for a perfect landing, in ideal, virtual windless conditions. It was very special being with Ruth on this flight, and we exchanged special words for our alone togetherness for the next 35 or so days. I felt a strange emotive pang, that ended in a question: " Do we really have to do this apart?" I'll miss her in many ways but I know these 35 days will bring special personal rewards and our sharing of that is where the specialness comes in. It was hard though, saying goodbye at the start as I headed off alone.
Well there is only one way to describe the 1st day ski: Very hard, and very sobering! The snow is quite soft, so the sled rails dig in deep making pulling a back breaking toil...I never expected this, I thought I'd be flying along, gliding effortlessly on the ice, clocking up the kilometres. I ended up having to stop and put my skins on the skis to give me more traction. Sometimes I just came to a stop as the sled hit soft snow and sunk in.... Hmmm, I'm sitting in my tent thinking about doing 10 hours of this tomorrow: It will be REAL tough and I long day!
Anyway, I sit here in my tent having just had a huge, hearty dinner, rewarded myself with a whisky coctial, not sure what for though...probably a morale booster, as I do feel a bit down about how tough the going is. Its stop start stuff so one can't get into a rythm, and that prevents me getting into the 'production zone' when the hours and kilometres fly by... Anyway, it's day 1, and I still have to go through capitulation point....the body and mind will adjust!
On the wonderful side, it's hard to explain what it's like being in my little tent on the ice, no sounds around, perfect silence, flat ice horizons, 360 ar0und me, its 9pm and the 24hr sun is high in the southern sky..just very unique and special.
I'm off to bed now, rest and 5am wakeup, with a big day ahead...an important mind adjusting one!
See ya tomorrow