White Out Wonders
21 November 2018 | Antarctica
I am staying in Union Glacier for a few days to not so much do final preparations (those have been done for quite some time) but rather to simply ski. I want all the kinks and sore muscles worked out of my body when I start.
Therefore, I spent the day skiing around what is called the 10 k loop here. It is called the 10 k loop because it is 10 kilometers long - a very creative name, I know.
The weather has been totally overcast, warm and snowing... the worst possible conditions for both sled pulling and making any kind of significant distance. Still, I skied for most of the day through nearly six inches of newly fallen snow. At times it was a borderline slog, but for the most part, I made decent progress.
Unfortunately, the visibility was less than ideal and the only thing I could see was the dark green flags that marked the safe path. Of course, once I start my expedition, I will be on my own, but for now due to the crevassed area in which Union Glacier is based, I am required to stick to marked routes.
Which, if Iâ??m being totally honest, is fine for me in these types of conditions. I hate whiteouts. Itâ??s impossible to ski in a straight line or even balance at times.
So I spent the day staring at the small dots of flags tapering off into the distance. At times, they appeared to be other skiers ahead of me. Another moment, it was the big ALE Tucker (a tracked transporter) with someone walking around it. Then a bird. As I got closer to each, they would all turn out to be... just another flag.
It felt good to be out skiing and even though I couldnâ??t see anything I enjoyed the distraction of shape shifting flags. Soon I will skiing up from Union Glacier and there will be another whiteout and I will have to find other ways to distract myself from the mind numbing pain of nothingness.