December 26, 1911: Amundsen homeward bound on the Plateau

–from his account “To the South Pole”

“On the 26th we passed 88 degrees S., going well.  The surface appeared to have been exposed to powerful sunshine since we left it, as it had become quite polished.  Going over these polished levels was like crossing smooth ice, but this the important difference that here the dogs got a good foothold.

“Here we had a very good example of how deceptive the atmosphere is in these regions.  On a day that appeared perfectly clear we had lost sight of the mountains in 87 degrees, now we saw them as far as the eye could reach in 88.  That we were astonished is a mild expression.  We looked and looked, entirely unable to recognize our position; little did we guess that the huge mountain-mass that stood up so high and clear on the horizon was Mount Thorvald Nilson.  How utterly different it had looked in the misty air when we said good-bye to it.”

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