Wednesday, February 10, 2010

10 February, 1911

Camp 9.

On we plod.

This is our day: we turn out of our sleeping bags at 9PM. Somewhere around 11:30 I give a shout to Oates to ask how things are, and he usually says they are ready. Soon after, figures are busy taking down tents and packing sledges and getting harness on ponies and packing feed for the break. The animals are taken off their picket one by one and brought to the sledges in formation. It is a cold business and one gets resentful of tardiness. Someone is slow wrapping up their tent or tending to their animal while the more prompt among us stand there in the cold. The ponies turn their heads away from the wind. When we are ready one says "All right, Bowers, go ahead" and he leads off. Finnesko do not provide much of a foothold, so there is quite a bit of slipping and sliding at first. Marching is warmer work and within ten minutes we are settle into a rhythm. Bowers keeps a steady rhythm until our first half-march break when I pull out my whistle and he pulls off to the left to set up camp. Within minutes the animals are picketed and covered, at their feed, while tents are up and cookers going. Meanwhile the dog drivers time their faster passage to meet up with us at this point and we all eat our lunch.

We make our final camp about 8 o'clock and build our walls for ponies. Within an hour and a half we are tucked up in our sleeping bags.

Most warmth is kept by getting into one's bag as soon as possible after eating, the warming effects of the hot food helping as much as possible.

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