Snow in my path

I have strived for this my entire life,a chance of a lifetime ,an accomplishment, no one can take away from me.I cant imagine a greater view then the one i have at this moment, sub-zero temperatures, wind chill below freezing, at roughly 70° North from south resolute bay.The howling snow,pure and untouched a freshly fallen blanket over this vast terrain.The most dangerous and most challenging climate on earth,for those of us brave or crazy enough to take it on.This tundra has called me here for a purpose,to conquer it,man versus the elements.I’ve been in training for years,a rigorous regime,of body and mind,i have pushed myself past breaking point,and still kept coming back for more.

I emerge from the warmth of my new home for the coming months,i look around at a makeshift camp site,each tent with a flag,a small piece their home countries.This was truly a spectacular coming together of nations,our own UN summit at the top of the world.The tents were put up last night, for the first time.They are our only defence from the merciless environment,our only shelter,in this otherwise barren land.The sunlight is constant,24 hours a day,it is the first of many obstacles this place has to offer.All of us,myself and fellow competitors,were flown the distance from the bay farther inland where we were due to start our trial trek,a week or so before the actual race.This will give us the added benefit of being able to check our gear,get a rhythm going,have a system in place.Although at times tedious and mind numbing,its crucial to our survival out here.The only thing that keeps us from all mother nature has to offer,is our own wit and ingenuity.This morning in camp there seemed to be a surreal calm considering this heroic feat we were all about to endeavour.All of us were just as nervous and excited to get going,to take that first step over the start line,and test what we are made.

After a breakfast of dried food rations ,heated over a fuel lit stove,our first priority was heating ice for water,enough so our bodies were maintained and well hydrated for the journey ahead.We checked the canvas tents and  re checked, before we took them down. Every inch of skin must be covered here,we all dressed in layers ,followed by even more layers of clothing to prevent frostbite or hypothermia.I fasten a water thermos flasks inside my jacket.Tents secured,my team and i take stock.The greatest hazard out here when packing is to make sure we all pack carefully in order to distribute the supplies across all the sledges and bags – so if one bag or sledge goes missing we don’t lose all the stoves or all the bindings for example. It’ll be a lot easier to replace one fuel bottle than three, and in any case we have spares of pretty much all kit. It’s a very long and tedious process, but essential to make sure we get to the start line with everything we need for our Expedition to stand a good chance of success.

We checked the weather forecast,mapped our route,even the most skilled navigator can get lost out here,hundreds of miles from the nearest civilisation,a small fishing town by the coast.The weather here provides a false sense of security,one minute sunshine and clear skies,the next minute blizzard and whiteout conditions,visibility can be less than zero.Behind my polarized shades and nylon face mask,i surveyed those around me.We lined up,skis in hand,sledges tied to our waists,the whistle was blown.I fell in line behind our team leader for the week.The first few hours went by,adrenaline started to wear off as monotony broke through,playing tricks with our minds.It is impossible to keep track of time or direction.I used my shadow mainly,one foot in front of the other,our team had gotten off to flying start.I’m unsure what position we now hold,or what lays ahead,crevasses and breaks under the snow are common here with the snow and ice constantly thawing and freezing,the ground literally shifting and moving beneath our feet.

Every 2 hours we stop for a 5 minute break,the only respite from our gruelling trek.In the coming days and weeks this was going to become our main opposition,boredom in our minds and a slow breakdown of our bodies,our stamina being surrounded by the same faces,living in such cramped conditions,dealing with your own highs and lows,and bringing up the moral of the team,keeping each other focused,determined,with an end in sight.We are all each other has out here,far from home and loved ones.United in a common goal and dream.We rotated every few hours,i was now in the lead on the last few hours before we set up our tent,and bunkered down for the night,before starting it all over again tomorrow.

Out here you have to be constantly alert,no matter how far we walked,our scenery never changed.It was the most demoralizing aspect of this whole trip.As we began to set up camp i noticed trails from a polar bear with a young cub,a reminder of yet another unseen threat,signs of people, ski marks of fellow teams in the snow beside our campsite,the only signs of life.Inside the cramped, at times claustrophobic ,tent we layed out our sleeping bags,started up the stove,ate,boiled litres of water,then turned in ,fully dressed,we slept in our gear.What little sleep we did get was just enough to keep us going.

I am doing this for me,and no one else,this is a challenge I’ve set myself,over the coming weeks and months.I will perceiver,see this though to the end.I have set my goal,it’s now attainable ,within my reach.Just one foot in front of the other,and I’m already a step closer to crossing that finishing line.Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.

Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of you’re doing it.  The time will pass anyway,we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.

Today was the day that perseverance paid off.We crossed the finishing line,arms linked,hands numb from the cold,worn,weary,yet proud.We made it.I have accomplished the unimaginable.I have realized my dreams.Now its time for my next adventure,whatever that may be.

                                                                                                                             Wingstruck.

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~ by wingstruck on February 1, 2011.

9 Responses to “Snow in my path”

  1. You have some excellent content throughout.

    • Thank you brit for taking the time to read though,still new to blogging,hopefully i can keep up with the content,of my posts.
      glad you enjoyed them,leave me a comment on the friends section of my blog if you wish to be added to it
      looking forward to your next post,so keep them coming.
      wingstruck.

      • Some great pieces, but like I said in the forum, though, I would sort out the grammar. More often than not, I would switch straight off straight away.

        Thanks, but mine is mainly for friends, colleagues and a few added extras, I’m not looking to make a massive following, I don’t have time to post very often.

        Keep it up, wingstruck, fantastic stuff!

  2. Really great, Wingstruck! You make me look forward to short stories from you if that’s where you decide to go with your writing!

  3. I was browsing the web for ways to promote my own blog and found yours. I really like the layout and content! I believe our blogs fall under a similar scope of interest. I’d be happy to post a link to your blog on my homepage if you do the same!

    http://joesintergalacticshoestore.blogspot.com/

    Also, i would try to limit the content or compress what you have on each page. Long load times can be deterring for some people.

    happy blogging!

    • Thank you joe,just checked out your webpage and posts.
      i would be more then happy to link to your page.
      i also have a friends page on my blog,ill add you there as well.
      Thanks for taking the time to read through my blog,and yes your
      right ill try to lower the page volume to lessen load times
      ill link you now to my page.
      Thanks for the offer joe,i look forward to reading more from you.
      happy blogging !!
      Wingstruck.

  4. Awesome post. Do you mind if I ask what your source is for this information?

  5. It’s interesting to see this point of view. I can’t say fore sure if I agree or not, but it is something I will think about now.

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