A Walk to the South Pole, 1911

One hundred years ago this month, on the opposite side of the earth from where I sit tonight, a band of hardy explorers lived in a hut on the shore of an island at the edge of the coldest place on earth. For them, June 21 1911 marked the deepest dark of the longest night. The sun had set on April 11, and would not shine on them again until August 23.

They had come to this place to study the Antarctic world—life, ice, wind, sky, stone—with an intensity that had never been attempted. “All for the good of science,” as Tom Crean was fond of saying. There was another goal: the discovery of the South Pole. No one had got there yet, and these men were determined to go and see what was to be found there at the Pole itself, and on the route to it and back.

Some of these men kept diaries, wrote letters describing for those at home the strange new world around them, the struggles and sacrifices mandated by the pursuit of the unknown and the unreachable. Some of their names, like Captain Robert Scott’s are well known. Others perhaps less so: Edward Wilson, Birdie Bowers, Teddy Evans, Apsley Cherry-Garrard, Bill Lashly.

Stay with Antarctic Discovery for the next year, and listen as they tell their story in their own words to you one hundred years later. See what they saw, know what they know as it dawns upon them that the rewards of the great endeavor are greater than they suspected.

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