Day 42 Nothing like a good ol’ whiteout to slow things down…

I hate whiteouts!

After what must have been almost two and a half weeks of gorgeous conditions, I think I was starting to forget how much I hate whiteouts. I guess after so long, one was overdue and I think I have been very lucky with the weather really… but still. I don’t like whiteouts. At all.

Okay, they’re challenging… trying to navigate through them… and that surreal feeling of going through limbo. But no, they’re not fun!

Top three toughest day

I would say that while the first hour of today was good—it was cloudy but good visibility—after the clouds all closed in, the day transformed to become one of the top three toughest days until now. The climbing became more pronounced as the gradient increased. With the increased gradient the sastrugi became more frequent… well it felt like they did as it seemed like I was hitting every sastrugi possible in the whiteness! It was snowing. Lightly at least, but still snowing. There was no wind, so I couldn’t navigate using that; no shadows so that wasn’t a navigation option either. It’s hard to keep looking at the watch to see the heading so… I had to get the compass mount out once more and use that again; much to my neck’s disappointment! Oh and yea, my goggles kept on fogging and for the first time in over 40 days of skiing, I started to get chaffing problems, just to add to the general pain!

Difficult day

I was tempted to call it a day half way through, like I did the last whiteout. But then, the sastrugi wasn’t quite so bad for me to do this. The snow was not too deep. My body still felt okay. And I have my minimum 14 nautical mile goal. Sure I could take a rest day but that would mean another a day until I get to the Pole. And despite opting to take a resupply once I get to S88, I still have only so many rations! Also, travelling through whiteouts is yes, a challenge, who knows how many whiteouts there will be – I can’t just take rest days because I don’t like it! It wasn’t dangerous for me; just… tiring. And soul destroying!

I managed 14nm!

I could have gone a little further but I took too long to give into the inevitable and put my compass mount back on. Before I did that, my ski track must have looked like that of a drunkard, straying off in random directions! Only thankful that I didn’t head north!

So on the whole, despite the utter joylessness of today, am pleased with the progress. I managed my minimum distance in horrible conditions, which bodes well for when the weather improves again. And it has already started to improve with the sun now out as I write this! Typical!

Photo: getting food ready for tonight and for the day’s travel tomorrow

Ear worm if day: nothing much an afraid, too busy trying not to fall over on the invisible sastrugi! If anything it was The Kids Aren’t Alright on repeat again!

Please support Ben’s chosen charity Cancer Research UK

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