Distance to go:
Ben and Tarka will cover 1800 miles starting from Scott's Terra Nova Hut at the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back to the coast again. That's equivalent to 69 back-to-back marathons hauling up to 200kg each (the weight of roughly two adult men) of kit and supplies necessary to survive.
Distances here are shown in statute miles.
Lost at the Zoo (Day 37)
Day 37: S83° 6' 4.86", E170° 23' 3.84"
Duration: 8 Hr 30 Min
Daily distance: 19.7 Mi
Distance to go: 1404 Mi
Temperature: -5 °C
Wind chill: -12 °C
Altitude: 171 Ft
When I was young - six or seven I think - I managed to wander off and get lost at the zoo. I can't remember how it happened (or recall much detail from that day) and as I'm not yet a parent myself, I can only begin to imagine how petrifying it must have been for my mum, but strangely I can still vividly feel the sickening shock of looking around and realising I was utterly lost, with no idea which way to go.
The horizon today went a bit odd-looking in the afternoon and as Tarka took over the lead from me mid-session he asked what I was aiming for. "You can just about see the west side of Mount Hope," I said, pointing with my ski pole, "so I'm heading for the base of that ridge." For a split-second I surprised myself with the certainty in my voice. I sounded a bit like an airline pilot, or a surgeon. Here, in the middle of nowhere, on the edge of an eternally frozen ice shelf the size of France, facing a mountain range seen by only a handful in history, I knew where I was.
My inner seven-year-old smiled contentedly as we skied on, and I marvelled at the information we gather and the skills we learn as we all find our way in life. My mum can touch-type at lightning speed, and she can read and write shorthand, which to me might as well be an obscure jungle tribes's dialect. My dad can lay foundations and build brick walls. My stepdad can catch a trout with a fly he tied himself, and gut it quicker than I can open a tin of tuna. None of these skills have made it as far as me, but dragging heavy stuff around has become a forte, as well as navigating.
We've found the Gateway, and we'll be on the Beardmore Glacier in two days' time. I'm apprehensive about this next chapter of our journey, but it's an amazing feeling to be here.
Nigh on 20 miles (32km) again today, so we're doing alright. Onwards!