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Scott's Last Expedition

Friday, January 5th 1912

Camp 58. Height: morning, 10,430; night, 10,320. T. -14.8º. Obs. 87º 57′, 159º 13′. Minimum T. -23.5; T. -21º. A dreadfully trying day. Light wind from the N.N.W. bringing detached cloud and constant fall of ice crystals. The surface, in consequence, as bad as could be after the first hour. We started at 8.15, marched solidly till 1.15, covering 7.4 miles (geo.), and again in the afternoon we plugged on; by 7 P.M. we had done 12 l/2 miles (geo.), the hardest we have yet done on the plateau. The sastrugi seemed to increase as we advanced and they have changed direction from S.W. to S. by W. In the afternoon a good deal of confusing cross sastrugi, and to-night a very rough surface with evidences of hard southerly wind. Luckily the sledge shows no signs of capisizing yet. We sigh for a breeze to sweep the hard snow, but to-night the outlook is not promising better things. However, we are very close to the 88th parallel, little more than 120 miles from the Pole, only a march from Shackleton’s final camp, and in a general way ‘getting on.’

We go little over a mile and a quarter an hour now – it is a big strain as the shadows creep slowly round from our right through ahead to our left. What lots of things we think of on these monotonous marches! What castles one builds now hopefully that the Pole is ours. Bowers took sights to-day and will take them every third day. We feel the cold very little, the great comfort of our situation is the excellent drying effect of the sun. Our socks and finnesko are almost dry each morning. Cooking for five takes a seriously longer time than cooking for four; perhaps half an hour on the whole day. It is an item I had not considered when re-organising.

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