Friday, December 16, 2011

Day 24: A much needed Good Solid One!

Howard's daily bread
87:27.776S 82:39.249W

Oops, yesterday was 87th parallel crossing day, forgot to tell you, but I did enjoy Ruth's card, and a huge whisky celebration, as I tried to minimise throwaway!

Elevation: 2365  metres...114 metres today, but 'hills and valleys' again to get there.

Just the day I needed:  a good, solid, mainly non-event day. As you will probably appreciate, every day is an 'ordeal' and a mind and body struggle, so non-event is in that context!

The 'night' snowfall was very  light, and even as I was setting out this morning there were still light flurries. As when it snows it was warmer, but as the cloud cleared during the day, it got a lot colder, and I finished with it at -24C. There was a 18-20 knot SE wind blowing for most of the day, making for difficult wind chill with it coming just off the face. Breaks were cold and I so I changed my marches, doing longer ones with fewer breaks, which worked out well, because I got into my warm little tent earlier! 9 hours marched and 30.0 kilometres done! That's 3.3km/h, and pretty respectable, considering that I was once again without skis and just 'stomping' in my boots! I did try the skis for an hour, but I REALLY felt it was slower, and far more stressful. 

Still lots off sastrugi, in fact today I saw the biggest monster yet! Most of the big ones have a trailing tail ridge behind the ornate head, and this ridge normally has a close to vertical sheer face that one has to ski, walk down. Well the face of ''the monster' was all of 2m, and I'm supposed to ski off the ledge, hope for a happy landing, and pull 'my friend' over a few metres of towline later! 

My whisky bottle flask replacement worked well today, so that's good. Don't think it's a 'Johnny Walker' type bottle, just a 1L Nalgene synthetic 'bottle'. Even with the down jacket insulation, the initial boiling water is almost frozen by day end. 

I'm about 4km from the largest crevasse area on route. I'll skirt around it tomorrow, and THEN it's direct no stopping to the POLE! I'd estimate 9-10 days now... but not banking on it!

Some people asked about my food / calories: There is a whole description with photos, on the blog, a posting around 10-13 Nov. In summary I eat about 7500 cal / day, and this is largely fat based. I can also tell you: It's really easy to eat that amount of food when exercising like I am, and being semi cold all the time! In fact I have just eaten my delicious 'tomorrow's breakfast' sandwich, as I was ravenous AFTER a huge dinner! (I'll steal two in the morning from 'the excess' I now have. (Planned for 38 days, and it will almost certainly now take less.)

Not much else to 'report' today... and hope for another 'productive one' tomorrow.

I presume you have all worked out your 3-5 key life activity issues, and have two 'Yes' ticks for the two questions, and so you are in 'Holy Grail', not wasting your life territory! 

Lastly on that whole concept, and my 'brief' explanation: It may come across as very 'me', 'selfish', and individualistic driven. It's not exclusive  of others, there is a subtle twist in the way I see things. I believe one must do things for oneself, but in doing that others benefit the most, rather than doing things for others and hoping their recognition, appreciation etc, satisfies you. I.e. the goal is to be the best parent, because that's what you have chosen to do, and a spin-off of that is that you will have offspring who you love, care for and have given a lot. But the goal is to be the best parent, that's where the personal height comes in. Continuing, I believe that if you make the goal the other person, then there is risk of an unhealthy dependency relationship, and while that may seem cosy, it's not a source of personal height. The personal height goal / result comes when one achieves something extraordinary for ONESELF.  Single-handedly turning a business around is the source of personal height, not the benefits to others, not the huge title / status of the job, nor the financial rewards that go with it. These are all benefits, some for others, but the personal height is within, knowing YOU took on a challenge and did something EXTRAORDINARY.

Lastly, the major discoveries that help millions were driven by a desire to solve a 'difficult' problem, and the scientist, doctor whoever, was magnetised by this challenge. In the process of solving it, he/she gained huge personal height, and ALSO many were given something by it. But the primary motive was the solving of the challenge, rather than the desire to help others... Therein lies my subtle, yet I believe powerful, within (vs others) focus.

That's it from me on 'this stuff', unless there is more 'blog debate...

Thanks again for your SUPPPORT on my adventure... It's really motivating....


  1. Dear Howard! We are friends of your sister Ros:) you know the tennis players..we are thanking her almost everyday for introduction you to us through this blog..I must say we are traveling with you daily..your posts are fantastic! whenever we are training on the field it is getting colder everyday ( we are in czech Rep) well - 1 C now..for you it must be Hot weather hehe..we are thinking of "how would Howard go through it":)..please try to stay warm and know you have a great New supporters here!! big hugs Iwonka and Jana

  2. Hi Howard,
    Cosmo, Kit and I following your great adventure. Thinking of you every step of the way and Wishing you all the Very Best, Tor

  3. Hi Howard,
    We continue to open each day's blog with bated breath, hoping that you have had a good day, lots of kms without any huge issues. Sorry about the loss of your water bottle and thermos...but thank goodness for your incredible problem solving skills. We are really glad to hear that your foot has not gotten any worse. As you know, we are always worried about your toes and fingers freezing. (I wonder if that is because most students are from warmer countries and and worries about freezing are a daily experience in our cold Canadian winters?)
    We are off for 18 days at 3:30 today so good luck from everyone here and we will check in on January 4th. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Safe travels to you,
    The BJHS ESL class.

  4. Another interresting and very thought provoking read, great to hear a much happier state of mind!!! Hugs Lindy

  5. Hi Howard,
    Interesting how you change the length of the breaks.Well done on the mileage & speed.