January 21, 1912: Amundsen in the final stretch

–from his account “To the South Pole”–

“On January 21 we passed our last beacon, which stood in 80 degrees 23′ S.  Glad as we were to leave it behind, I cannot deny that it was with a certain feeling of melancholy that we saw it vanish.  We had grown so fond our our beacons, and whenever we met them we greeted them as old friends.  Many and great were the services these silent watchers did us on our long and lonely way.

“On the same day we reached our big depot in 80 degrees S. [Scott’s big “One Ton Depot” was situated at 79 degrees 29′, about seventy miles farther north] and now we considered that we were back.  We could see at once that others had been at the depot since we had left it, and we found a message from Lt. Prestrud, the leader of the eastern party, saying that he, with Stubberud and Johansen, had passed here no November 12, with two sledges, sixteen dogs, and supplies for thirty days.

“Everything thus appeared to be in perfect order.  Immediately on arriving at the depot we let the dogs loose, and they made a dash for the heap of seal’s flesh, which had been attacked by neither birds nor dogs in our absence.”

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