Hours of journey: 10h - Accumulative: 405h45'
Km./Day: 26,4 - Accumulative: 962Km. Remaining to the South Pole: 194,2Km.
Days of progress: 45 (41 Solo) - Inactive days: 15 (0 Solo) - Total Days: 60
Position: S 88º 22,275' - W 082º 11,602'
I have been able to cover a bit more distance than yesterday with the same amount of hours, and that helps to reduce the distance I have with the delay towards the South Pole on the 3rd of Jan. In any case, I'll try and compensate a bit more to accomplish what I've planned, which means 6 journeys from tomorrow (Day 29), and if I can't, then I'll have a spare day anyway.
Today has not been a typical day in Antarctica. Not sure if it is Fools day or what but the truth is it has been a journey full of surprises which I'll quickly explain:
6h35: The cooking stove and melt snow breaks down. Try to see what it is, and I can't get it working. Luckily I had a spare one in the sledge, problem solved.
12h40: A plane flies over my head. Not at much altitude, and it is clear that is heading South Pole. I think it's the plane they have at Union Glacier Base to go to the Pole...in that case it may be the one who's going to take me back when I get there. It's the first ´thing´ I see since Carles left and I continued solo. Bear in mind that I haven't seen any commercial planes flying at high altitude, nor the tail they leave behind in the sky. Above Antarctica there is no air commercial traffic, even at this is a special area.
13h25: I loose balance when overcoming a small sastrugui, and to get the balance back I push my weight towards the left stick. This one breaks, and apart of losing my pole stumbles and fall. Fortunately I also have a spare pair from ´Gabel´ courtesy of Sporttotal. Another problem solved.
15h50: I bump across some traces a few times. I was really impressed at the time, as it was the first physical signal, GPS aside, that I was on the right track and I wasn't going towards Saragossa. They were from two persons, and probably the two Australians who I knew are following the same route as mine and that are a few days ahead of me. I have been able to follow them for a while until they faded away in the snow carried by the wind.
17h45: The bomb!! I find the first person since I was left alone. Suddenly I see a black spot in the horizon, in the same direction where I'm heading to. As I'm getting closer it looks clearly that is a person coming in opposite direction. It happened to be the English girl that Xavier Carles mentioned in one of the posts. When we. When we crossed each other we fell into each other's arms and she tells me she's doing the route the other way round, having started at Rose Ice Shelf, through the South Pole and finishing in the coast at Hercules Inlet. She says that with the same days and effort as regards to our route, many more Km., are covered, as Rose Ice Shelf is on Latitude 85º 20´and the positive drop until the South Pole is not very important, and then to the coast is a soft slope. She calculated about 20 days to the South Pole and 25 to the coast, but she also had a 5 days delay. It's really cool to be such brave girls, isn't it? The photo at the top of the text, is the one we took with Felicity.
Well you see, a hectic day for what's normal in these lands. On the one hand I'm happy to see different things and the firsts indications of human life: a plane, traces, a person; which means I'm getting very close to the South Pole (It would have been very difficult to coincide with Felicity 10 days ago, as any small distance turns much bigger far away from here). But on the other hand, I'm also sorry to know of other signs of presences. I wouldn't have minded to find anything or anybody, but you lose that charm I was telling you about yesterday, to be so many days absolutely isolated of any human contact or civilization. But I guess I have already a good dose of isolation, and now I have to look at the positive side, and that is that I'm very close to my final destination.