Today was brutal. The cold was so intense you had to think long and hard before you took off your gloves to decide if what needed doing was worth a period of intense pain. By far our coldest day yet.
During the day I realized how many arctic visitors, like Scott's expedition, had met their fates. Don't get me wrong, Mike and I are in very capable hands and doing quite well, but today's intense cold, with the addition of a stiff breeze, made me understand how many of these explorers, who all embraced life, could simply give up and succumb to the cold. With no food or limited shelter, combined with intense cold sapping your energy, it could be difficult to move forward.
I found myself today making small goals to accomplish. Reaching the pole is of course a goal, but today that was too far away to be effective. I started with the goal of starting the day warm. Failed, just too cold. So I decided to set another small goal, break camp quickly so we could cover at least 10 miles. Failed the first part, too cold, hands were blocks of ice and everything was done slowly. Completed the second part, I think we got about 12 miles today.
Once underway it was too cold and windy to undertake any of our Cold War negotiations, it was a temporary cease fire, as our only thoughts were making sure each of us were focused and on task. That left me alone with my small goals, these I would not fail. I would find an ice boulder in the distance and have the goal to run to it alongside the sled. I would set a goal of warming a hand or foot as each part of my body would, to some degree, succumb to a painful chill at one time or another. The good thing is we are both adapting to the cold quite well, the problem is that it keeps getting colder forcing us to adapt again.
Even one of the dogs is having a hard time with the cold. Ayer is an Alaskan Husky that is a little less suited for the cold than the Greenland Huskies who are hulking beasts of a dog with a great temperament.
Tonight we are quite excited as Ayer is going to join us inside our tent for dinner and sleep. Hopefully Ayer has been trained on the proper etiquette of using the bathroom indoors. Hopefully we get back to the balmy -25 degrees so we can resume the intense negotiations regarding my rights of a negotiated airspace over my side of the sled.