Not a great deal to report today, I’m afraid. The whiteout that dogged me yesterday was still lingering this morning, but enough sunlight was making it through the low cloud to start to give me a little contrast on the snow’s surface, enough for me to pick out points to navigate to every 20 or 30 metres. It snowed all night and all day, so the surface hasn’t improved, and combined with the grey sky gave the impression I was dragging something weighty (an anvil? A fridge freezer? A gorilla in a bathtub?) across an estuary when the tide was out.
In the early afternoon a few pastel smudges of blue started to appear, raising my hopes for a clear afternoon. Sat on my sledge pouring hot energy drink from my flask into my Nalgene drinks bottle, I suddenly spotted mountains (the Neptune Range) far away on the horizon to my west, their dark peaks showing faintly in the swirling cloud. As soon as I’d seen them, they were gone again. Perhaps a little reminder from Antarctica that the Pole is still a fair bit of walking away.
The visibility deteriorated as the afternoon passed, to the point where I was effectively pitching my tent blind this evening, and lying here I realise I’m parked on a bit of a slope, with my feet higher than my head, and a risk of rolling to the right if I lie on my back…
I’ve had two fantastic messages from friends today that have helped me keep my chin up as I trundle along, a written one in my ration bag from Al Humphreys (I fear I forgot your birthday Al – I owe you a beer when I’m back!) and a brilliant email from Olly Hicks, who made me laugh out loud in my tent with his line ‘It’s an odd furrow we’ve chosen to plough…’
Thank you also to Georgia and Fergus and everyone at Potage – the brownies seem to taste better every day!
And finally a massive thank you to everyone at Canada Goose for making this expedition possible, and to everyone at Land Rover for their support not only on this project but also over the last decade. I gather the satellite image compression has been effectively erasing the logos on the side of my sledge that I thought I was being so diligent in photographing and sending back, so here’s a gratuitous extreme close-up of the sledge this evening, with the solar panel on top.
I’m also sending back a Day 22 beard status update. The grey drybag in the ‘kitchen’ behind me is what I pack the tent away into, and as soon as the tent’s up it doubles as my snow bag – I fill it with chunks of snow to melt for water over my stove.