by John Huston
Whoa! What A DAY we had today! We will never forget this day. And it will probably go down as the most difficult, intense day of the expedition. This is an expedition of managing a lot of variables and when things go well, everything can seem smooth and relatively easy and comfortable. When things go wrong, it can be the exact opposite.
Today, this morning around 10:00, I fell through the ice with my skis on when I was attempting to cross a newly-frozen lead. I was in the water for about a minute. At first, it felt not that cold and then extraordinarily cold. Tyler was right behind me. I was able to swim out with the help of my pulk and ski poles. The wind was blowing around 7 to 10 knots out of the west and it was sunny. And we stripped me down, changed my clothes, which is a frigid, frigid experience right there on the side of the ice, and stuffed me into a sleeping bag, and gave me a little food. And I was warm enough and Tyler went and set up the tent and for the next hour and a half, we dried out some of my layers and prepared to go traveling again. Skiing is the warmest activity out here. We don't have a lot of fuel left, so we can't waste fuel drying all my wet clothes, so to have some damp clothes on and ski, is the easiest way to dry things.
So, that was a traumatic experience, and dramatic. We handled it very well. And we are mad at ourselves that we did not test that lead better because going through the ice and making everything wet makes everything harder for the next few days because it takes more time to manage the wet clothing in the tent. So, we were feeling good after that and then we received the beating of the wind out of the west for all afternoon. The sun went away for the most part and we had a 15 to 20 knot wind for most of the evening and afternoon of our skiing. We skied almost 13 hours total from camp to camp, including the incident, and suffice it to say, my soft Bergans of Norway sleeping bag never felt better.
I was extraordinarily impressed with Tyler throughout the whole day. I had a rough day skiing mentally, but I recovered and we ended on a high note and felt like we had persevered. We felt like that we are still on track to be successful. We're on schedule and it's going to be an interesting finish. We're running right to the margin of food and fuel as expected. And we feel that we have everything in place to reach the pole on the 24th or 25th of April.
Today we skied for CaringBridge user Dora Wild. She is a 60 year old from Waterloo, IL and she has been fighting cancer for 1 1/2 years. So Dora, as we had our tough day, we thought of you and sent you positive thoughts and we thought of all the other CaringBridge community following us and supporting people in need. CaringBridge provides personalized websites for patients and families experiencing health crises, treatment, or recovery. It connects their personal community to their experience in a very easy to use way and we are trying to raise $100,000 for CaringBridge so go to our website www.northpole09.com or CaringBridge.org for more information on how to support our efforts.
All right, keep on watching. We'll try to stay dry. Thanks for listening.
Daily Expedition Data
Date: April 17, 2009
Location: N88° 22.131' W064 57.022'
Time Traveled: 13.0 hours
CaringBridge Family: Dora Wild
John and Tyler are commited to raising
funds and awareness for CaringBridge.