Sensory Deprivation

Miles Advanced North: 26.3

Days on Traverse: 39

Days Roundtrip to AGAP: 4

Days Layover at South Pole: 14

Total Mileage Thus Far: 1,177

Fuel Delivered to Pole: 92,325gal.

The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.

Rest assured, I am alive and well, and will be continuing these updates on a biweekly basis. If something awesome happens- I’ll write about it, if not… just take all the emails I sent previously and read them in reverse.

OK, so, we are headed back to McMurdo now, minus a crew member. Dosinga our mountaineer only does the one way trip- he is at this moment in McMurdo, probably knocking on the door of every floozy in town. He’s headed for Greenland soon, where he will be doing the traversing business up there. The Greenland Traverse carries a gun for Polar Bears and that’s probably why he’s ditching us- so he can play with that gun. So have fun with that Dosinga, YOU JERK! Just kidding… goodnight sweet prince.

Buck and McLovin’ grew much attached to their new alien friends, whom they named Cheech and Chong. I was going to send pictures of their dissection- complete with blue alien blood and guts n’stuff. It was going to be awesome. Unfortunately, I got in some trouble for a few of those other pictures I sent out. Yup, it was a full on caining. BUT, I’m still here, so that means I win.

Day 46

Miles from Pole: 186.6

Average Miles Per Day: 46.6

Weather: Clear, -39 WC

Have you ever heard of a Sensory Deprivation Tank? Imagine yourself floating in a pool of very salty water that is warmed to the exact temperature of 98 degrees. The salt helps keep you buoyant, but don’t get any in your mouth because then you’d be ‘tasting’- remember, this is sensory deprivation- no tasting allowed. The pool you’re floating in happens to be in a room that is absolutely, can’t-see-your-hand-in-front-of-your-face, pitch black. Your ears are slightly submerged so the only thing you could listen to would be your own heart beat. So you can’t hear, can’t see, can’t taste, can’t feel… oh, and you’ve got a nose plug on too, so no smelling.

It’s said if you can stand a whole hour in the tank-then you’re very comfortable with yourself. That’s a good thing, I mean, if you can’t stand yourself- then who else is going to be able to stand YOU?

Traveling across the Polar Plateau is a lot like floating in a Sensory Deprivation Tank. Nothing but blue sky and white snow as far as one can see- it may be beautiful and alien-like at first, but after a week, there are no sights here that can stimulate the brain (minus the occasional Sundog or two).

Your sense of smell is obsolete because the cold hinders evaporation- if you could smell anything, it would be diesel fuel or at best- your own body odor. The hum (or whitenoise) of the tractor deafens any tunes you might be listening to- if you haven’t memorized them all already. I caught myself trying to decipher the words to the song ‘Halo’ by Beyonce’ of all freakin’ things. Then there’s the food. It’s Kiwi. Their motto seems to be, “Bland is Grand!”

“Hmmm, maybe I’m not that comfortable with myself after all.”

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