Shackleton’s Ross Sea Expedition, March 18, 1915: “What a life!”

–from Alexander Mackintosh’s diary–

[The depot party consisting of Mackintosh, Ernest Wild, and Ernest Joyce had just completed a ten-mile march homeward toward Hut Point, one of the best of the season.]

“I look forward to seeing the ship. All of us bear marks of our tramp. Wild takes first place. His nose is a picture for Punch to be jealous of; his ears, too, are sore, and one big toe is a black sore. Joyce has a good nose and many minor sores. My jaw is swollen from the frost-bite I got on the cheek, and I also have a bit of a nose. . . . We have discarded the ski, which we hitherto have used, and travel in the finnesko. This makes the sledge go better but it is not so comfortable travelling as on ski.

“We encountered a very high, rough sastrugi surface, most remarkably hight, and had a cold breeze in our faces during the march. Our beards and moustaches are masses of ice. I will take care I am clean-shaven next time I come out. . . .I ask myself why on earth one comes to these parts of the earth. Here we are, frost-bitten in the day, frozen at night. What a life!”

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