Today we hit the halfway point! It was a full day sledding over ice boulders and ice breaking beneath us. We ended up traveling 1o more miles north leaving us with 27 miles to go over the next 3 days. While we have gone 33 miles north so far we have actually traveled 48 miles with our east, west and south movements.
Our day started off on a down note as 2 of our expedition members left by helicopter bringing our team down to 8. We also had slow goings in the morning hitting lots of pressure ridges. These pressure ridges are lumpy piles of ice rubble ranging from a few feet to 15 feet tall. We are constantly weaving through the snowy landscape to find the simplest path through and when there’s no way to get around a pressure ridge we cut our way through with wood and ice axes.
We also had a wild experience today with the another big obstacle, open water. In the early afternoon we stopped to take off clothing layers and have some snacks and were relaxing and chatting when we started to hear some loud cracks in the ice. Our worst nightmare, the ice 2 feet in front of us is breaking. Not only is it breaking, the crack is widening 2 feet every minute and we have to get across. The dogs were barking like crazy and a huge rush of adrenaline hits as our guides immediately jumped into action. One by one all 3 sleds got across and we breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Overall it felt great to travel far and and get back on track for reaching the pole in 3 days. Hopefully tonight we will continue the pattern of drifting closer even as we sleep.