Elusive harmony

Posted by Ken Campbell January 10, 2012 2 Comments 718 views

I have done some long trips. Arduous, painful, wonderful, beautiful, trying, exhausting and amazing trips. In kayaks mostly, or on paddleboards, although I’ve had a few mountain adventures in there as well.
I have never done anything like these guys though, (seriously, watch the video), a mind-numbing, unsupported skiing/walking slog to the South Pole. I just finished reading about the trip and I have a few thoughts: First off, the expense hurts my head. A couple of million dollars (or more), for three guys to walk less than 900 miles. That’s an oversimplification, to be sure, but when it’s all said and done, that’s the nut. Secondly, these blokes, being Brits (and one Canadian), had some anti-American verbiage at the end of their book that seemed like a desperate attempt to salvage some dignity for their effort – after an amazing ship-sinking episode and the subsequent rescue – when I thought the concept, in and of itself, was pretty respectable right from the start.
The thing that really hit me, however, was the extent to which the three principal characters seemed to be constantly in opposition to one another. Niggling, back-stabbing, cold and hurtful comments served with lemon juice and sandpaper were the norm. They were so close for so long that it was probably inevitable that they get snide, snarky and petty. Of course, they were kind of like that from the start, which should have set off bells for them; quite frankly, the fact that they wrote about their disagreements so openly made for uncomfortable reading at times.
This is not to denigrate what the trio accomplished. It’s a long walk in a harsh place… in the footsteps of Scott and Amundsen, and damn few others. I can’t help but think though…
I’m looking at a pretty major project this year myself. Open coast, just three of us, wild country with limited avenues of escape. Nothing like Antarctica, but remote and beyond, in its own way. (More on this upcoming.) I hope I, and the people I am with, can maintain better than these guys.
And, just as important, I really hope my boat doesn’t sink.

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