Shackleton’s Ross Sea Party, October 1, 1915: “. . . Up with the dawn of day. . .”

–from Ernest Joyce’s account “The South Polar Trail”–

“October 1st, Friday. Up with the dawn of day, with every hope, trusting we move off in excellent time. Turned out 6.30. The weather conditions are very thick to the south, with every indication of a blizzard. Breakfast: the party consisting of Capt. Mackintosh, Spencer-Smith, Hayward, Jack, Stevens, Cope, Richards and self; under way at 10.30. As previously mentioned, Gaze remained behind for meteorological observations, also to care for the dogs. Our load consisted of three sledges carrying about 1,00 pounds in all. Surface fair, travelling about one mile per hour.

“Arrived at half-way camp, 6-4/4 miles, at 3.30. Lunch followed, after which found going very heavy. Decided to leave one sledge of 300 lbs. and proceed to Hut Point, 7 miles away. At 7 o’clock the drift and southerly wind was upon us, the force of which must have been 30 to 50 miles an hour.

“Decided to abandon another sledge, as we were still 3 miles from our destination; to make matters more uncomfortable, the temperature fell to -20º. Most of us had frostbites one way or another. . . . We arrived at Hut Point at 10.30. Everyone weary after the hard day’s battling. Soon had a blubber fire going and made a good thick hoosh (Bovril pemmican). Watches were told off. By the heavy breathing, snores, etc., everyone seems contented.”

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