One thing I had been meaning to do for a while was photograph the
watch It’s Jackson Time, one of my expedition sponsors, provided me with. Ted, the owner, was very good and made sure I had an excellent expedition time piece to trek across Antarctica with.
Although the Casio ProTrek PRW5100-1 is no Rolex, it has certain features I loved. Having analog for checking time at a glance was wonderful. It had been forever since I had an analog watch and I never realized how much more quickly I could watch my time during skiing. Also, the analog face does not develop lag like an LCD nor does it turn black when looking at it with polarized glasses. And, I could leave the watch out and still read it. LCD-based watches would turn to unreadable mush at -40 deg. F.
One of the purposes for photographing this watch was to fine-tune my product shooting skills for a few classes I’m teaching at the Art Association of Jackson Hole. I will be teaching four different classes. Stay tuned for their description, purpose and audience. I will be targeting intermediate shooters with one course and have a class on strobe (flash) photography. Hence the above photograph.
The class dates and exact description will be forthcoming.
Note: The above watch went with me to the South Pole. It’s a little more beat up than the above shows. It took a sick amount of Photoshop work to take out most of the dings, scratches, fuzzies, and specs.
The development of a book proposal for Antarctic Tears, my current working title, is going along nicely. Being able to spend significant hours working on the chapter outline, market and promotion sections of the book in a relatively distraction-free environment has been a boon to productivity.
It seems that I am one of the types of authors who needs to be free of dawdling distractions, where food and basic resources are readily available but distracting wi-fi is not. This sort of writing seems to be better done in an isolated location than in with the regular living situation.
Although I enjoy my time with friends and family immensely, it is easy to be diverted, creating procrastination with their presence. What a conundrum.
When humans are in polar environments trekking across ice, they have to burn massive
calories to stay warm and fueled for the activity. There are lots of options for calories but only a few efficient ones. Butter is one of those calorie sources. It is suggested, based on experience, to consume 6,000 calories per day to maintain weight. Much less than that and the body begins shedding massive amounts of weight.
Prior to my butter going bad, I had only lost 5 pounds. Once the butter died (went off, in British vernacular), I dropped 20 pounds in a mere two weeks. I lost 10-15% of my calories per day when the butter failed. It was amazing how rapidly the weight came off. However, Antarctica is a place where losing weight is really bad.
When the weight burns down, staying warm becomes difficult. Fat reserves really do work well for insulation. And, once the stuffing comes off, the harness begins to dig into
bones rather than riding on a nice layer of fat. My clothing ended up being two sizes too big, too. It looked absurd, really. As though as I was a little kid wearing my dad’s clothing.
Every day up until the butter failed, I was eating an 8 ounce block of butter every day. That is, the equivalent of two American sticks of butter. One block for breakfast and then one during the day. For the snack time butter stick, I ate the butter directly, not spread on toast or anything. Just like a block of cheese. A la the Zits comic above.
Along the way an Antarctica, something unbelievably strange happened. I heard a voice calling out my name in the literal middle of nowhere. Having traveled over 300 miles at that point, it never occurred to me that someone might come across me.
And yet, it happened.
Vilborg Arna Gissurardóttir was vying to be the first woman from Iceland to solo-ski from Hercules Inlet on the Ronne Ice shelf situated on the Antarctic coast to the South Pole. This meant she was to receive no outside assistance, either to move her equipment or to pick up along the way.
Thank you very much to Tom Pfingsten at the Union Tribune in San Diego for
the follow-up column on my Antarctica Expedition. I had the pleasure of meeting Tom when I was living in Carlsbad. He came down and did a photo shoot and interview of me while I was towing my tire around the neighborhood.
Now that the Union Tribune purchased the Californian and the North County Times, hopefully there will be much better coverage of all of San Diego and south Riverside County (Temecula et. al.).
Thank you to Correne Coetzer and the folks at ExplorersWeb.com for posting my after-action expedition article. I tried to give as much information and provide inspiration from my expedition to the South Pole.
Sadly, I was not able to complete the round trip. It just was not possible for me. And, really, I don’t think it was possible for anyone this year. Even the best and most experienced expeditioners were unable to complete their goals this season. So for me, the polar rookie, this was a satisfying accomplishment.
Below is a PDF of the article from Explorersweb. Thank you for letting me run the reprint! Click on the below link for the PDF.
My latest fortune cookie said, “You will soon find new adventure in life.”
Adventure always sounds good but really, it’s only when things go sideways does adventure happen. Adventure means the plan went wrong and you have switched to Plan B. That is where things become interesting.
I’m interested in exploration, discovery, learning something new about the world. I want to share my experiences with the world, too.
This expedition to Antarctica is all about finding the edge of the human limit, helping people find there can be something greater than yourself, knowing that it’s okay to pursue your own personal dream, and learning to help others.
In working on this project, I’ve learned that I can’t do everything myself. I’ve had to tap friends, family, and many interesting people I have met along the way. I expect that group will expand as I go along, too.
Having a good and educational time in Yellowstone. Had my first equipment loss – the precious cereal bowl.
It seconded as the scoop for making water. I didn’t pack the bowl in its usual place in a bag. Sure enough, I must have dropped it when digging through the gear bag.
My efficiency is low for gear handling on this trip. That needs some serious work prior to any larger expeditions.
Need the lexan cup. It is smaller than a cereal bowl and won’t shatter at minus 20 deg.
Tonite finds me at west thumb. Last nite was -20 deg. Brr. It was the classic cold after a storm clears out.
Having serious cracks in my fingers to the point of bleeding. Never had this before. It makes touching anything painful. Maybe the opposite of Midas?
My route has been completely changed due to the lack of snow in Haydon valley. In order to reach Indian Creek, I have to go via Old Faithful and over a miserably steep pass.
The toughest part of this trip has been my speed. I am only making about 50% of what I was doing last year. I should have been at West thumb last night or early this morning. Instead I arrived this evening at 8 PM. Carrying 50% more load as a direct correlation to the time involved with the travel.
Having it snow all day yesterday made travel also extremely slow due to the drag. Since my permit requires me to go to Old Faithful but I do not want to go over the continental divide twice that is extremely difficult. And I wouldn’t have to make the double jump on the way back as well.
As with all trips I am at that point where I have to decide what to do. I am concerned that the severe cracks in my fingers are going to lead to potential infection but not only that it makes it extremely difficult to handle anything.
What I wouldn’t give for some paint on second skin right now. That would at least seal up the wound and stop the bleeding.