Dec. 15th, 2011

Nadir

Dec. 15th, 2011 11:59 pm
100th anniversary:

20 October: We are off again. Myself, four other men and fifty-two dogs head due south towards the first depot. We set off with four sledges full of supplies. Our group has advantages that other expeditions did not; we travel light, we do not waste our time with picture-takings or surveyings, and we intend to make good use of the depots that have been laid out along our path. Our secret weapon, of course, is our dog teams. My adventures in the Arctic have taught me well about the care and use of these marvelous beasts. In addition to being hardy, hard-working beasts of burden, our dog teams represent an additional source of food should the weather turn poorly, as it did for the first assault on the pole.

23 October: A very near miss! Traversing the crevasses surveyed by the depot party, I was driving my sledge across an ice bridge when the entire thing collapsed. It was only the hard labors of my dog team, heaving at the edge of the solid ice, that kept me from sliding backwards to my certain doom. As it was we only lost a few supplies. We have encamped at the first depot to retrench.

5 November: Third depot. Uneventful running. The ice mountains loom in the distance. Torvald and Gunnar are for stopping, but I urge us onwards, taking advantage of good weather.

17 November: We have reached the Transarctic Mountains; a long, arduous climb awaits us. The snow is soft and the footing treacherous. After only the first day of climbing, we have already lost a dog, who lost her footing and was run over by the sledge. We were obliged to butcher her and divide her meat up among the team and humans. I confess I enjoyed my portion, a welcome diversion from dry trail rations. The dogs ate their companion too, although I sensed afterwards they were somewhat subdued and unhappy.

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