Well, 505 to be exact, and that’s a straight-line distance from my drop-off point on Berkner Island last month, so I’ll have skied a bit further in reality.
For a change, the weather was great today. Mostly blue skies with a bit of cloud, and pretty bloomin’ chilly with the wind hard at work, up until about 5pm when it calmed down again. The windchill is really quite something when it gets going, and can feel quite threatening, a bit like working in a factory where some corrosive liquid is being sprayed around and you have to have protective clothing from head to toe; where a bare hand exposed for a few minutes would suffer irreversible damage. It’s strangely satisfying being able – with the right clothing and gear – to carry on travelling through conditions like that, although stopping to rest and eat and drink takes a little more discipline and organisation.
One minor victory today, and one minor defeat. The downer is that the offline Spotify songs on my smartphone no longer play as I’ve been disconnected from the internet for more than a month, so I’m stuck with the music on my little iPod Shuffles. The bonus was discovering – in the bottom of my repair kit bag – a little stash of caffeine pills. I took a handful with me on my last expedition and shared them with Tarka, and they were so potent (I don’t have tea or coffee in my rations so have had no caffeine since early November) that we ended up trading them like a precious currency. I only have a dozen here now, but I took one with one of my afternoon breaks today to celebrate finding them, and it was like my brain and my legs shifted up a gear, at least for an hour and a half, before the effect wore off.
I’ve been bashing through sastrugi again all day, and the novelty of this terrain (the ridges run across my route, with the prevailing wind, so I’m always going against the grain) is definitely wearing off. Oh for some slightly easier miles soon!
P.S. I forgot to take any photos today, so here’s the view out of my kitchen window. This is the first view of the day’s weather I get each morning, and as you can see it’s a blue sky evening here…