5. 2. 2015
We think we’re getting used to the conditions here because we felt really good and we finally put on some miles today - 31 km (19 miles). Though, we were lucky to have a perfect weather today and we walked on smooth ice for most of the day. I have to say that the short distances we walked in the past few days worried me quite a lot. I looked at the map every evening and I just said, “Oh gosh, we’ll never make it at such pace!” I tried to convince myself that it’s just the beginning which is always slow but I was down anyway...The rational part of me screamed that it’s the first week, that we need to get used to the cold, the climate but it was not of much help. We tried to blow it off by making jokes like, “We have to finish the crossing on time otherwise it will melt under our feet in May...”:-) But deep inside we were both worried. The only help on this kind of thoughts are days like the one we had today when everything goes well. We only hope that we’ll have more days like today and less like yesterday!
What was also a “first-thing” today is not a good news. We have the first blisters or rather Vasek has...He has one on each feet. I suppose you know that I don’t mean any tiny ouwie but huge, colored and swollen blisters which should be displayed in a museum of medical curiosities :-) Big ones...We treat them with special ointment. Vasek takes it as it is and does not complain about it at all...tough guy he is. He just said that he has blisters on every expedition and that it’s nothing new for him. Truly, if I had something like that on my feet, I really don’t know if I could handle it so calmly...There’ve been no problems with my feet so far. I only strained some muscles a little bit and my little finger is slightly frostbitten but I already wrote about that some two days ago.
What’s also new is that for the first time I had a good night sleep! I have the very same sleeping bag as Vasek does, mine’s even newer, and still I had been cold during every night. I even tried to sleep in a light down jacket and two pairs of woolen underpants but it didn’t make any difference. I felt that I would have done better if I didn’t try to sleep at all and kept on walking. When I’m moving, I am comfortably warm. I was desperate yesterday’s evening so I got in my sleeping bag as I was - with the hard shell on. And believe it or not, it helped! It even solved my other problem - my nose was sticking out of the sleeping bag and was getting cold. You have to be careful about your nose at it can frostbite very easily. The thing is that if it’s below -10 °C (14 F) you should not sleep with your head hidden inside of your sleeping bag because the vapors you breath out would get into the fabric of your sleeping bag and freeze immediately. The sleeping bag would then turn into a piece of ice after few days and became useless. That’s why we sleep with our heads outside of the sleeping bags but it brings about other problems - our heads get cold. I’d been putting a woolen balaclava over my face until yesterday when I just put my hard shell jacket hood on and tucked my face in it. The hood has a fur hem and I found out that my finish raccoon (I’m a vegetarian and love animals but you cannot substitute a fur hem with anything else...) doesn’t work great only during the day but is perfect even for use at night. It makes your face warm while you can breath through it. I know it probably sounds terrible that I sleep in the very same close in which I’m all day but if it comes to cold and sleep, one is able to endure quite a lot - we’re no sissies :-)
I wish all days were like today! Then we would really enjoyed ourselves and moved forward much faster...