The Bird (Log #29)

L O U ' S   D I A R Y  

Day 30 in Antarctica. It's a clean sock day as Lou pushes on up towards the Polar plateau. He meets patches of sastrugi but also finds himself zipping along for two hours on flat icy ground. A strange visit from a feathered friend stokes Lou's fire and by the day's end he has made 14.3 nautical miles...


Dec 2 2018 -  

Good evening everyone…

Reporting in now from day 30 of the expedition. A real milestone day. I got to roll up my third 10-day food bag today, which is great. It’s really satisfying to think that well over 35 kilos now of food and fuel have gone from the pulk and have been consumed. The pulk’s looking definitely a bit emptier – there’s a bit more space in there now – and feeling really reasonable now when hauling. Also I get to put on a fresh pair of socks today as well. Every 10 days I change my ski socks, so that will be quite nice as well tomorrow, to have some clean socks on for the day. Making great progress. Managed to do 14.3 nautical miles, which I was pleased with, which puts me about half way now to 88 degrees South. About two and a half degrees from the Pole. 

Climbing again today as well  – I’m up at 7,735ft now as well, so I’ve only got about 1,500ft left of climbing before I reach the Pole.

A really interesting day today as well. The conditions were changing all the time. The surface; I was in amongst the sastrugi early on, then I had about two hours of complete flat – really flat, hard, icy surface. I was zipping along and it was absolutely fantastic. I was kind of hoping that was the end of the sastrugi and that was me firmly on the Polar plateau but then sadly, towards the end of the day, I was back in amongst it. Then I had about an hour or so of really poor visibility whiteout, but then it lifted again.

Lou Rudd Green Visor

And definitely the highlight of the day, it was around about two o’clock and I was having a hard time, I was moving quite slowly, feeling a bit fatigued and done in. I caught something moving out of the corner of my eye and I looked up. It was a bird in front of me. Pure white. A stunning bird about the size of a dove, with a little black beak, literally fluttering right in front of me. And it was equally as intrigued by me as I was by it. I stopped and watched it. It looped around me a few times, checking me out, having a look. I quickly moved back to the pulk and grabbed my grazing bag and scattered a little bit of dried fruit onto the snow surface to tempt it in. I was trying to get my camera and see if I could get a photograph of it. It was quite strong winds, and it was struggling to hold station around me. It stayed for about two minutes and then the wind caught it and it was off. Totally surreal to see a bird this far inland. It was obviously just riding the wind and eventually head out and reach the coastline.

I’m not a particularly spiritual person, but if ever there was anyone coming to pay me a visit and have a look, that was it. It really made my day and I spent the rest of the afternoon thinking about it. It was just such an amazing moment. I really enjoyed that. If it was someone, I know exactly who It was.

That’s me for today. I look forward to speaking to you tomorrow.