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Only Half of the Distance to Go!

Yesterday, I disconnected my iPod by mistake right when it was synchronizing - instead of a new set of music, an error message occurred on the display and I was told to reset the iPod. I didn’t have energy to do that so I spent a quiet day today.
Only Half of the Distance to Go!

Instead of music all day long I listened to my thoughts for a change today - I kind of enjoyed the quite atmosphere :-) Moreover, wherever else you’ll be able to spend 10 hours straight sunk in your thoughts... As I was surfing thought the waves of my mind, I realized that it will actually all begin only now... now when we’ve walked more than 300 km (186 miles).

Only now will we find out whether we’re able to make it all the way to the end. For the first few days we dealt with the heavy loaded sleds and deep snow, then we struggled through snowstorms and strong winds, we had problems with a tent... still, I cannot help thinking that it was there only to prepare us for the worst part. I’m afraid that in the next weeks we will deal with much more difficult things - we’ll have to suppress our doubts, fears and exhaustion, we’ll have to make ourselves to go on for whatever it takes. We’ve walked some 300 km so far - and there’s the very same distance to walk. Our bodies begin to send us signals that they’ve had enough already... Vasek deals with his swollen leg, I have problems with my feet and we both feel tired. I think that in the light of what we’re facing now, a snowstorm doesn’t sound as anything serious :-) To get up in the morning is more and more difficult, to walk the first miles is a torment and it doesn’t get much better during the day. We hope that it’s just what every long-term expedition has to go through - the period of getting used to suffering and pain. Anyway, we don’t lose the spirit!

We don’t have a chance to talk to each other during the day. When we walk, we’re sometimes far from each other and when we snack, there’s no time to chit chat :-) The more we talk once we’re in the tent. First we both complain a bit about how hard day we had, then we check the GPS and are both very pleased (usually) with how many km we covered and when we cook, we tell each other funny stories from the past... Today I performed something special for Vasek - first I spilled my water, then I dropped some of my food on my mattress. The high point of the evening was when an insole from my boot which was drying above our heads fell right into my tea. It took me 30 min to clean up... But it made Vasek laugh which is what matters, after all... :-)

What also keep us sane are all those beautiful things we see here every day. It’s tough to pull the sleds every day but when we watch the cracking ice, mountainous sceneries along the coastline or the spectacular sunsets, we are rewarded for the hard work.

Someone in the comments asked us to tell you something about the clothes we have here so I comment on it briefly. I think I don’t need to get into what conditions and temperatures we have here, I’ll skip then to what we put on every morning:

The first layer is woolen underwear by Devold (the Active series) - wool is warm, dries quickly and what’s more - it doesn’t smell too much even when heavily used. We both have pants and t-shirts. Then goes another woolen layer by Devold again - now it’s the Expedition series which is warmer. Vasek sometimes puts on one layer more - a woolen sweater. I’m usually OK with just two layers.

Then goes the hard shell - high reaching pants with braces and jacket. We added a piece of fur on the hem of the hood in order to protect our faces. Both pieces are made by a Norwegian company - Bergans (some info for girls - mine set is orange, Vasek’s blue :-) We’ve both tried various kinds of clothes but we agreed that this set is the best we’ve had. It has number of very smart details - like squares of soft mat built in where you have your knee - then your knees won’t get cold when you need to kneel down on the ice (and you need to do that quite often). The jacket is extra long so it covers your backs. It’s both made of Dermizax which works much better in cold wether than GoreTex. We simply cannot complain about what we wear :-)

Whenever we stop to take a break or have a snack, we immediately put an extra warm down jacket (Bergans as well) on. It’s of the same length as our hard shell jackets and very warm. It keeps us warm even if we stop for some 15 minutes to eat our snacks.

Gloves, hats, balaclavas, face masks, socks and shoes are also essential parts of our equipment but about those I’ll tell you some other time. I’m dead tired and cannot wait to curl into a ball in my sleeping bag and sleep... :-)

Pavel

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