Yesterday I think I was somewhat dazed at the enormity of the journey thus far, it’s brutal hardships, and the significance for Australian Polar history had not sunk in yet.
As the fatigue cleared, calories soaked in and key conversations happened it began to dawn in me what our humble family run expedition company had brought to fruition.
Several times during those 37 days Sarah’s wisdom and counsel through our Satlink calmed me, refocused me, allowed me to put boots on swollen feet and press on. Likewise Simon’s knowledge of the Polar game and the kid’s tireless support of their mad Dad has made a huge difference. It’s been a team effort and one we can be enormously proud of.
The sideline support is what the McGrath Breast Care Nurses provide for Breast Care sufferers in Oz. It can change the outcome, allow refocus, remotivation and miracles occur generated by this good support. It’s why as a family we bleed pink. Please donate via the link on our home page all funds goto McGrath Foundation.
A huge weight lifted off me yesterday as I realised these facts, but also recognised from here on every day I get closer to home, closer to loved ones, lower, warmer, lighter sleds, faster, it was all good news!
The Dome still has fickle winds and deep snow and I’m 200 km from the “conveyor belt” or favourable wind that ll drive me back to Novo. So there’s some sting in the Dome’s tail yet.
As if to confirm the above, I had hoped to get moving today towards home and was initially excited by wind outside. I grabbed the gps and walked out the bearing to “checkpoint Z” (the conveyor belt). The wind was unusual coming directly from the east, in other words a direct headwind. I reviewed clever Celene’s last forecast, yes, she had predicted this but also that around midnight a new wind of favourable direction and strength would come to herald the start of the homeward trek.
Patience. Rest. Repair. I trimmed dead skin off healing frost bitten fingers, reversed the 4 kite lines on big Bertha as she has done the Lion share of mileage and some chaff is occurring. By reversing the lines, the chaffed areas can get a break. Repaired ski bindings, resowed gloves, resowed and glued kite harness and emptied both sleds making sure Kevlar cracks are not progressing. Did a couple of videos to put through the Pivotel/Iridium pipe for our media guru Karen Eck (Eck Factor) as she wisely said I looked too fatigued and serious yesterday! She was right as she always is.
Silence deafening, Sleds packed, reconnected, noses facing home and now waiting for the new wind that surely must come.
I refresh my knowledge of the crevasses ahead (main risk on leg IV) reading a comprehensive report that Ben and Jacque from SKADINU in Hobart have prepared and it fills me with sensible caution. The slots in the ice are there, it’s better to be patient, work my way around them and get home in one piece.
I turn my head, deep breath, look towards home and promise to be careful on the descent.