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Scott's Last Expedition

Friday, January 19th 1912

Lunch 8.1, T. -22.6º. Early in the march we picked up a Norwegian cairn and our outward tracks. We followed these to the ominous black flag which had first apprised us of our predecessors’ success. We have picked this flag up, using the staff for our sail, and are now camped about 1 1/2 miles further back on our tracks. So that is the last of the Norwegians for the present. The surface undulates considerably about this latitude; it was more evident to-day than when we were outward bound.

Night camp R. 2. Height 9700. T. -18.5º, Minimum -25.6º. Came along well this afternoon for three hours, then a rather dreary finish for the last 1 1/2. Weather very curious, snow clouds, looking very dense and spoiling the light, pass overhead from the S., dropping very minute crystals; between showers the sun shows and the wind goes to the S.W. The fine crystals absolutely spoil the surface; we had heavy dragging during the last hour in spite of the light load and a full sail. Our old tracks are drifted up, deep in places, and toothed sastrugi have formed over them. It looks as though this sandy snow was drifted about like sand from place to place. How account for the present state of our three day old tracks and the month old ones of the Norwegians?

It is warmer and pleasanter marching with the wind, but I’m not sure we don’t feel the cold more when we stop and camp than we did on the outward march. We pick up our cairns easily, and ought to do so right through, I think; but, of course, one will be a bit anxious till the Three Degree Depot is reached. I’m afraid the return journey is going to be dreadfully tiring and monotonous.

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