Hours of Journey: 10h - Accumulative: 277h45
Km./Day: 24,8 - Accumulative: 629,1Km. Remaining to the South Pole: 526,1Km.
Days of Progress: 32 (28 Solo) - Inactive Days: 15 (0 Solo) - Total Days: 47
In the Antarctic continent, one day you're happy and the next one it knocks your teeth out with a punch.
I was looking forward to reach 85 degree, as all information I had, said that since 85 it would get easier and smother. But since yesterday at 12h I reached that point, and everything turned quite difficult. Terrain visibility was zero again, prevented me of advancing at a good pace; and today another surprise: It was sunny, no wind, and great visibility, on top of that the surface was flat and smooth and it was easy to avoid small snow formations that was easy to see. Seems quite of a perfect day, huh? Well, it wasn't. The snow was very soft, as if there has been a recent snowfall (which didn't happen), or as it was not cold enough (it was freezing!). With all that, the snow friction made it tremendously hard to do any progress
Normally during the first 4 to 5 hours of each days journey, I'm fresh and full of energy; it is after that when I start to suffer and try to finish the best I can. But today, after 3 hours of moving forward, with that soft snow, I could not go any further. I have seriously considered to stop and set camp, and take a day and a half of rest, as I was exhausted and mentally drained to finish the stage. I got even to stop with the intention of doing it so and think about it...I've taken the skis off, made myself a nice tea while eating an energy bar... In the end I decided to carry on even If having more stop overs. Result: Instead of having a day break I set a new record... not the mileage one though, but the hours of. I have got close to the 10 hours because I had a stubborn determination to get as close as I could to the 28 Km, as the average daily mark to reach the South Pole within my calculations.
Finally, pushing myself very hard I've done 24,8, but as I had 6 reserved (ahead of target) I am still within the foreseen average and I've still got 3,8 as margin left. Let's see how it's going to be like in the next few kilometres, because with such snow conditions I can not do 28 in less than 12 hours. Will see tomorrow how it goes and if required I will work on my forecasts again. And it's a pity...If the terrain was harder, I would move very fast and with less suffering.
This has to be taken as a warning signal, and the euphoria from the last days great progress and the reach of the equator of this traverse leaves me to think that there is no room for complacency. There's still a lot to it. Lots of days ahead, lots of Kilometres and I am still in one of the most extreme environments on earth. So, Maximum focus, and don't get overconfident, it's not over yet.
Sorry if I have bored you to death with my story, but I have been thinking quite a lot over last few weeks about how to approach the expedition after degree 85 (50% of route covered), and the deception is major. I have suffered a lot today, both physically and mentally. Every step required plenty of effort, pride and to find any possible source of energy wherever it was any left, and on top of that, I was having a feeling of losing the battle continuously against the plan with the calculated average. It may seem a bit exaggerated all this, but in here, with all the hassle and the sacrifice that needs to be made in order to live and advance a decent distance, all of these things are of enormous significance.
I do not like to exaggerate or to add too much epic on this, in fact, is the other way round, to look at the positive side, and if possible, have a laugh. I am not quite sure if I have said it enough times, but this is hard, bloody hard, and I guarantee you I am saying it with the knowledge of enough experience on demanding situations.
Anyway, tomorrow will be another day, can't wait to see what it brings, and how my body and mind react. When today was about to stop, mind has won the match, but I better do not abuse of this type of victories, otherwise the body can go on a temporary or major strike, or even to decide to quit altogether.
I've been moving with the Thiel mountains to my west all day yesterday and today. I could not see them yesterday, but today I could. Have a look a photo attached.
I wanted to tell you about another general expedition aspect, but I got carried away with my thoughts... Apologise in advance, I'll do it tomorrow (I hope). I have enough for today, the ASUS battery is very low, as is my own battery, and I need to sleep a lot.
Ah... and before going to bed I still have to find all the teeth of the previous punch and glue them back in my mouth, and guess what am I going to use? Of course, it what I always use here to repair everything...the American tape.
See you tomorrow...
I DEDICATE THIS JOURNEY TO:
All those persons that are going through a tough time, whatever the reason may be, health, personal, economic crisis consequences.
The only I can think of to tell them from here is that if you fall into the slackness, the anxiety, the victimism, the inactivity, a defeated and a negative attitude, will suffer a lot to get nowhere, they will be at the mercy of luck, they will get depressed, they will need a psychologist and moreover they will learn nothing. But if they fight, if they believe in themselves, if they activate ways to solve the problems, in a few words, if they adopt a positive and consistent approach, they will possibly sort their problems out... it can leave a wound, maybe they will suffer a lot, maybe it takes longer than they ever thought, maybe they have to make important choices; but they will get through. And the most important thing is that they will see that they have learned, they have grown up, and that they will contribute to shape their own personality.
We can't always control the circumstances, but what we can decide is which attitude we adopt dealing with them.