I'm shattered, absolutely shattered. The last eight days have been without doubt the toughest so far. For the first five days after Pat hurt his back Jon, Clare and I distributed most of his load between us, taking turns to haul the remainder by attaching his sledge to the back of ours for 20 minute shifts. We did this for 20km a day, mainly uphill through a fair amount of sastrugi and soft snow. It was very exhausting. On the 6th day Pat hauled the sledge for a couple of shifts, then on the 7th he hauled it half laden for the whole day, and on the 8th day, today, he hauled it virtually fully laden. His recovery has been staggering, and dare I say it, much needed as we were not sure how long we could keep going. The worst by far was having to haul two sledges, it was a killer. My Achilles' insertion points on my heels have suffered greatly. When we made camp in the evenings I could hardly walk, and on one evening in particular I was reduced to crawling around the tent to put snow on the valences.
But all that can be forgotten now. We have arrived at our rest point and look forward to sleeping like babies before celebrating Christmas tomorrow. After 48 days of hard and heavy hauling it's difficult to believe that this day has finally arrived. It's even more difficult to imagine that we're now only 232km from the pole, only 10 more days…. hopefully!
It will certainly be a Christmas to remember!