Sunday, December 03, 2006

Tents, walks and sundials

Being outside of town and in the wilderness, I was very aware of the flattness of our surroundings. It was especially noticable in reference to the sun which circled around our heads in a strangely counter clockwise direction. (It is clockwise in the northern hemisphere.) It dipped a bit in the evening and so I decided it would be prudent to build a sun dial of flags. I loved the sundail that evolved and put my tent right next to it.

I slept in the polar haven for the first few days before we put out tents up. After I put my tents up, I spent a few night in it, then went back to the haven for some better sleeping. But when the storms would come, I had to be outside for the experience...Others followed, inspired. By the end of the 16 days, I had switched tents to a design I prefered and spent all the remainder there. Quite warm in my -50 down sleeping bag.

It was fun to be reading about Antarctic explores camped in tents on the plateau while I was doing the same. One stormy "night" I was in my tent reading about Robert Scott perishing in his tent with his companions on the return from the pole. It was strangly errie and I was happy to not have followed his fate.

During the bigger storms, I had to follow the line of flags to my tent, which seemed to hover in the whiteness.

But once inside, so cozy, and when it was nice outside, it offered a splendid view.

At some point during the stay, three of us decided to walk into the distance far enough so that we would not be able to see camp. We headed out with a radio, a GPS and took note of the wind direction and angle to the sun. Me, the leader of the project, Kevin, and Eric who is now known by the viking name of his creation, Ragnar Bloodaxe. The wind was blowing in our faces and it was a most beautiful sight to see the blown snow fly past our boots like we were in a huge wind tunnel. The lovely movement reminded me of the movements of the waves upon the land. I loved it. I very much wanted to keep on walking. Towards the pole, towards a destination. An ocean of white beconning for me to navigate across it. Perhaps another time...

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