Last day in the 88s, I'll cross the emotional 89th parallel tomorrow morning.... Gee, that's good news!
Elevation: 2 743m: Hey, a day where I did nett downhill... Only 2 metres though! I'm definitely on the plateau, it's flat, the ice is different, and hey, zero sastrugi!
A long 11.2 hours out there today, 10 hours skiing delivered 34.5 km, so happy boy again... Light sled and the flat terrain, this is what I imagined at this point in the journey. Those kilometres don't come easy though. It's focus, and relentless pushing! My foot problem comes and goes, but largely ok during the day, but at the end of the day today, while just getting started with the tent, my foot protested at the day's demands, and exploded into excruciating pain. So bad, I couldn't walk, and had to resort to painkillers. Gee, I wish I knew what the problem was... I've tried eveything. At least be thankful the day's skiing was largely pain free. I hope tomorrow goes ok, too! I do feel I'm really punishing my body at the moment... Keep telling it there's only a few more days then there is good rest. (Ruth's expedition had another setback: Chris fell and broke his wrist and did some knee damage. They have been waiting for a few days for him to be evacuated by plane. So they will be at least 3 days after me at the Pole.)
I'm mentally as well as physically exhausted, and will wait to see what my mind and body say to kiting back...The solo expedition was always going to be the 'main show' by far. And that it certainly has been, thanks also to 'you guys'.
I'm not there yet, and in many ways I'm entering the most challenging part: trying to keep a lid on emotions, and not focusing on the finish, but that's really hard. I only have food for four more days, so it has to happen by 26th!
While the terrain is great for skiing distance, it has got really boring, epitomising nothingness... I was about to say I miss the sastrugi! Humans, hey, never happy! The thing that isn't boring is the big sky and the amazing cloud formations, truly unique and impressive.
I've been going for the equivalent of a month now. Haven't seen the moon, the stars, the sea, a green leaf, shrub or tree, a sunrise or sunset, and most importantly: Another human being!
I wonder when I'll meet my 'first one'. It'll be quite strange! They fly people to 89 degrees to ski 'the last degree' to the Pole, so maybe tomorrow or sooner than the Pole itself! I'd better look respectable, not very at the moment!
It's a truly beautiful 'evening' out here 'tonight' (11pm), really warm and not a breath of wind... Gee, these are special times, when it's like this. Just decided to make another cup of tea, to enjoy before I tackle my serious 'tailor job': It is VERY serious: my zip on my windsuit fly came off, and then the fabric from the bottom of the zip down to the crutch has torn. Too much urgent wear! If I don't fix it, I risk the most serious 'digit' frostbite of all! Not funny, haha!
So, once again I'll postpone the philosophy section, for more important duties. Not forgotten though!
119 kms to go, the 26th is looking good!
Keep with me over Christmas, please!