The wind woke me up at 5am, and I knelt up in my sleeping bag like a giant caterpillar and poked my head out of the inner tent to have a look at the weather through the air vent in the tent’s porch. It was a blurry white in every direction, with no horizon and no contrast, and the fizz of spindrift was loud against the tent. I straightened out again and dozed fitfully for an hour or so before deciding to stay put for the day, to have my first proper rest after three weeks of a daily nine hours of exercise, and to hope for better weather tomorrow.
After some brekky and a hot drink, I fell asleep again until 10.45am, a sign that I perhaps needed a bit of R&R. Lying awake in my sleeping bag after my nap, I listened to the sound of the wind and the blowing snow. Each time it quietened down I’d berate myself for being lazy and not getting out of bed to clock up some miles outside like a real man, and each time it picked up again, buffeting the tent as if a gang of old ladies were outside trying to beat the dust out of it with brooms, I’d congratulate myself on my prudent and wise decision making.
My rest day activities have included snoozing, recharging my electronic gadgets, snacking, writing lists and notes, watching Goldfinger again (the only movie I have on my phone) and reading. I’ve finished all the novels on my Kindle app so started Nick Bostrom’s Superintelligence today. It’s an extraordinary book on artificial intelligence that is proving mind-blowing in two respects, firstly in that it explores the implications of machine intelligence surpassing human intelligence (‘Probably the last challenge we will ever face’), and secondly in that it does so using terms like ‘Bayesian inference’ and sentences like ‘Without an efficient way to encode candidate solutions (a genetic language that matches latent structure in the target domain), evolutionary search tends to meander endlessly in a vast search space or get stuck at a local optimum’, so I’m having to take lots of breathers while my own modestly performing neural network chews and swallows.
Speaking of chewing, the food bag I fished out of my sledge this afternoon had ’40’ written on the front, which means I’ve now consumed nearly a quarter of a million calories since I was dropped off on 7th November; 64kg or 141lbs of food. This tally includes: 160 Primal Pantry Paleo Bars, 80 Battle Oats Bars, 80 Organic Food Bars, 40 litres of protein shake, 2kg of 70% dark chocolate, 100 litres of Tri-Carb energy drink, 2kg of chocolate brownies, 8kg of Outdoor Food Firepot meals, 8kg of Primroses Kitchen breakfasts, and 2kg of Marmite cashew nuts.
Last up, Lynn asks where Pip and I will honeymoon next year. I have a few ideas, but the main criteria are somewhere where there’s zero risk of frostbite, and somewhere I don’t need a snow shovel to go to the loo (also risking frostbite in the proces). Re the Southern Pole of Inaccessibility, I’m not going near it on this expedition I’m afraid. And Sam M, it’s fantastic to hear from you. I never did catch the golf bug!