|File pic of Howard and sled on his North Pole expedition|
A pretty productive day today, 26.5 kilometres and most of it because I got my sled back! About four hours into the day the soft snow and plough were things of the past..Well hopefully! I put it down to a certain elevation level, where the main snowfall from weeks back dumped itself. After all this is supposed to be the driest continent by far.
The day was a variety of weather. I woke this morning to a grey day outside, and a light dusting of snow on the tent and sled. I had a bit more light snow, then thee oppressive fog and limited visibility, then a 20 knot (50 km/h) headwind. As usual the wind chill picked up. It seemed a bit colder than I 'd had before, because at one rest break, I temporary froze the toes on my one foot, but unlike normally, I couldn't get it back to full feeling on the ski. I battled for 90 mins, with no luck, so resorted to my real cool (warm!) Forty Below, neoprene overboots. They did the trick, and felt real good... Thanks Joel, they are the right ones, and very easy to fit over my ski boots. (I'm trying quite a novel footwear solution, Richard's idea, and seems to be working well.)
Solo but not Alone takes on new meaning: Way off in the distant horizon today I saw another expedition..! Gee, who could that be? Not Ruth's group as they are about 3 days behind me... It can only be the Norwegian group that started 2 days before me... Hey, that's great news... I thought they would have made time on me. They must have struggled with the snow.
Today was garbage burning day! I have been keeping all the plastic wraps for my food, and it finally started bugging me so we had a little bonfire, and the bad deed was soon done. Pretty good, hey: all my garbage for 11 days fitted into a 'standard' supermarket carry bag. Real sustainable living getting closer!
So comment / questions answered:
Fuel: Yeah, I use about 230 ml of camping fuel each day to make water from ice, and also to cook my breakfast and dinner.
Spares: Weight is a critical part of sled pulling, and each item put in the sled must be carefully thought whether it's needed or not. A few kilograms of extra sled weight make a huge difference n speed and calories needed to pull it. So deciding what spares one takes a long is a very important process, and one cannot use the multi redundancy approach to take out risk. Adventures, by definition 'must' have risk, it necessary but not liked!
Why did I have a shaving razor with me, if weight is a problem? I don't shave on the expedition, but I do know of people who had facial hair frosting / icing problems that caused havoc, so just in case. However more importantly, I'm hoping there will be romance at the Pole, so I better look the best I can... haha!
I finally feel I have a way of life now that is pleasant with it's 'to look forward to' times, sustainable and daily repeatable. At the end of a day skiing I'm totally exhausted, but good, hearty food (Thanks again, Josee!), tent time, and good sleep, I wake as good as I was the day before, and ready to do the job out on the ice.
That's all for today. Short Blog so I can have an extra hour's sleep!