Sunday, December 25, 2011

Day 33: An important day... I can now 'feel' the POLE!

89:22.372S 81:26.753W

Not far now: just under 70km to go now... After a big day today.

Elevation: 2 770 metres.

I needed today to go the way it did as yesterday I felt I was close, but not close enough, and the uncertainty of the duration of the storm was a concern. Well I woke to a ski-able day, but the wind and whiteout only 'left' about 4am, so it was grey and not totally convincing that it had gone 'for good'. Excitedly I left without debate, and soon I was in strong tailwind conditions, sun out, and blue sky ahead but dense grey cloud behind, so I just looked ahead! It was so warm with the tailwind, for the first time on this expedition I could remove my head and face gear... Quite a strange feeling! I also took my ski goggles off, as they were fogging up in the warmth, and replaced them with sunglasses, so almost looked like a tourist! Within hours things changed as the cloud caught up with me, and visibility dropped to almost zero, but with the 5hr mark (half day) showing 19.5km, there was no ways I was not having a 'big day' today... It also looked temporary so I hung in for two hours before things improved. Wind went more side-on, and things got much colder. It was a great skiing surface, and with my light sled the pace was good. I topped 3.95km for one hour stretch. It was very enjoyable at times, like somedays when you just have a great run or cycle etc, I had a few hours today like that. And for the first time I had no foot pain at all... Hmmm!

Anyway it's getting real close now, and I even spent a few hours today reminiscing about the whole experience, how amazing it's been, and how much I have grown as far as being self sufficient on the ice. I went back to the airplane drop off and how apprehensive I was. The power of the adventure journey.... Hey, but it's not over yet! Probably 27th now, but not tempting fate!

I'm really knackered tonight, so will end here, but to say:

Happy Christmas to all of you who celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful day! I'll be having my Christmas 'feast' tomorrow night!



  1. Hi Howard
    it is getting close - i can sense the excitement building - enjoy your last gfew days and keep focused,focused - Go Boy

  2. Glad you had such a productive distance day on Christmas Day Howard - well done. Have been thinking about you all day & wondering if the storm subsided. So pleased it did. Hang in there for those last delicious kms.
    Astounding stuff
    John V-J

  3. Happy Christmas Howard. Keep going. Nearly there :o)

  4. Dear Howard, Wow! Wow! Wow! We are so proud for you. Merry Christmas and a New Year of everything you would ever want. "No more storms please, fast skiing conditions and emotional response appropriate to how you feel and how you can say to yourself..."I've made it!!!" I've posted an order for you to that place which is dear to you. Keep focused and enjoy it for everyone who has followed you, Love and best wishes. Anthea & David

  5. Merry Christmas Howard :). 2 days!
    He he he - you'll miss it so bad once you're back in civilization. Savour it now .

    See you soon man.

    All the best.


  6. Hey Howard...merry christmas.
    remember the last few hours of dusi and how you get quite depressed as you hit civilization after all the time on the river....that feeling that it is almost over.....anticipation mixed with sadness. I wonder if you have those feelings yet.
    it's been great sharing your adventure and I look forward to "being there" for the BIG MOMENT.
    take care....peter and pat

  7. Merry Christmas Howard, I am just about to visit daughter for a fattening Christmas lunch and to open presents (more possessions to imprison me) but I am going to enjoy every moment!! However, I shall be thinking about you every mouthful . . . and all the other starving people in the world (Here in England as well as in third world countries.) The whisky countail I'll sip just for you!!
    Just wondering how I can ever repay you for all the adventurous moments I have been allowed to share with you. Merry Christmas to Ruth too - haven't been able to follow her blog but have been thinking about her lots. love Maggie

  8. Merry Christmas Howard. Thanks for sharing this day with us. Good trekking as you close in and complete your goal! ~~_/)~~ Sabrina & Tom

  9. Happy Christmas Howard, I hope you found 30+ Km in your stocking! Stay focused and stay safe, you are almost there. XX Lynn

  10. I wish you could have kept those sunglasses on!
    You've become quite the weatherman, interesting how in tune you've become with it.
    Wondering what your Christmas feast consists of. I'm taking off to another relatives home today. I update my friends on your march. Merry Christmas, Howard. God's speed. Sandy T.

  11. Getting there safe and sound will be our Christmas present, Howard! We know you will treasure the moment and so will we!! Graham, Siun and Ben

  12. Hi Howard - I feel your excitement as you approach the end of this trip. I'm so glad that you were able have good mileage this Christmas day. Wishing you well for tomorrow.

  13. The Gods are smiling on you Howard! So keep smiling back and enjoy every last step/ski push, of the journey. It is hard not to get overexcited for you, to hop around, scream and shout, well done Howard, well done!! The tension of all the challenges, like a tighly coiled spring, is threatening to break loose and release all that pent up energy. But we have to keep it contained until you touch that South Pole!! Which should be in the next day or two. Keep strong, focused and enjoy. Patrick and Brigitta

  14. Great to hear about a good day - it seems you are now over the top of Polly Shorts and on that last 'enjoyable' slog. Hope you enjoy every ,maoment as you cruise in - I nearly said 'home' - you seem really at home in the crazy advenrure space.


  15. Howard merry christmas, I have been reading some of your blogs to my xmas guests and it opens up some excellent debates.
    Nearly there, suffice to say I didn't set up my tent in the garden too many chores. !!

  16. Merry Christmas Howard,

    You are almost there ! Never doubted that you would make it.


  17. All the best Howard. One step at a time and so nearly there. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  18. Hi H, Sometimes its hard to relate to the cold of the Antarctic when we are sweltering in 35C heat of summer in WA. At this stage of your adventure every kilometer must seem like a Christmas present to you. Keep it up mate and be ready to savor the feeling of achievement once it appears on your plate. Cheers T

  19. Hello there. Glad to hear you had no foot pain today. Joel Attaway alerted me to your foot complaints. Hopefully it is resolved. But if not I will be happy to try and diagnose and advise. I am a podiatrist in the States and periodically get involved advising from afar adventurers about their foot issues. If I can be of help, I am happy to do so. Otherwise, please accept my wishes for a successful (and inspiring) journey.
    Howard E. Friedman

  20. Hi Howie,
    Well done on the big day & reading conditions.Great top speed!!Foot pain HMMmmm mm-where was your mind Ha aaa a!!
    Thanks for the Christmas greeting.Please accept my belated Christmas greetings-"have a blessed Christmas & travel safe."

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