We punched out another 20km today, this time in 8 hours, an hour less than yesterday and whilst everyone is battered, bruised and falling apart all I can say is woooohooo! We’ve covered 70km in five days and have 41km to go, we are comfortably past the half way mark and God willing, weather and health permitting we will be out of this hell on earth after two more hard days, hopefully this time tomorrow I’ll be writing to tell you just one more day to go.
Today was COLD, it was overcast and the wind was blowing harder than usual, and that’s really why we arrived quicker. During the hourly breaks everyone got so cold and we all know the only way to get warm was by moving so no body wanted to hang around. I have to give it to Baba though, I see him out there day after day kilometer after kilometer really struggling but he doesn’t say a word, when I’m starting to tire and the cold takes its hold I think about him and how he’s doing, so I ask and the voice that responds is so belabored it makes him sound anything but fine but sure enough he pulls through to the end every time. Every night at dinner we have a distance discussion for the next day, and the day we did the 15km was really tough but Mohamed and I wanted to push for 20km the next day so we could finish in four days and get the hell out of here. Before dinner we strategized how we were going to lobby for 18km which would only be one more hour than 15km and go from there. He ended up cutting us off short saying 18km was neither here nor there so we would do 20km, I was shocked. After completing that first 20km day yesterday I thought no way he’ll agree to that again but not only did he agree to it, he suggested it. And now literally as I type this I can hear him singing in the tent next to mine, only to be interrupted by his coughing fit every once in a while.
He asked to put this part in the dispatch: “Haythoumi, you know what the best part of today was?”
“No Pap, what was it?”
“It was when you and Mohamed saw me dragging my heel and pulled up beside me on either side, you guys didn’t say anything but just skied with me from there till the end”.
It’s an especially cold and windy day today and hearing the wind outside our tent is akin to being in a horror movie and hearing the evil demon outside, but there is a great prospect that we will arrive at the pole after tomorrow and leave this savage absolutely cruel place which is enough to make us all smile, even if our teeth are chattering when we do.