Posts Tagged ‘exploration’

Today Pegman took us to Cape Crozier for a wee camping trip. This is my 150-word story about this rocky place.

My Dearest Angela,
The wind blew brusquely last night. Twice I found myself braving the cold to place rocks around the tent base while Charles slept soundly. Although his face is blackened by frostbite and most of his fingers are gone, he remains a pleasant companion.
I’m afraid we shall be trapped on this outcrop until spring. Snow has fallen for ten full days and buried our supplies. How I wish I had planned better. We were forced to abandon our scientific equipment two months ago for it became too heavy for the ponies to pull. Our clothes soak up moisture and do not dry out. We have eaten our leather boots. Ice crystals tear at the wool of ours socks. They are shredded.
The ponies ran away four days ago.
We have eaten all the dogs.
My one wish is to see you. Faithfully yours, Frances

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At the time Douglas Mawson and his partner Xavier Mertz were struggling to survive in the Antarctic by eating the livers of their dogs, it wasn’t known that Husky liver contains extremely high levels of vitamin A. Such levels of vitamin A can cause liver damage to humans. With six dogs between them (with a liver on average weighing 1 kg), it is thought that the pair ingested enough liver to bring on a condition known as Hypervitaminosis A.

Mawson looked at the thin blue icicle
hanging off the peak of his tent.
He needed to move or he would freeze
along this hellish coast of the Antarctic.

Mawson chewed the last bit of husky liver
and strapped on his crampons.
An hour later he tumbled into a crevasse.
Saved because the sledge wedged tightly into the ice above him,
Mawson struggled out using the harness attached to the sledge.
Tired, hungry and hallucinating, he trudged forward on bleeding feet.

Heart thumping he climbed the hill above base camp
and watched his rescue ship, the Aurora, disappear over the horizon.

Messy nests of grasses, weeds, feathers, and hair littered the ground.
Each one held three speckled eggs.
Hundreds of long-legged, white birds filled the air with a cacophony of squawks and whistles.
Still, the men could be heard.
“The Misses would love some of them plumes for her hat.”
“My son would enjoy bathing in a tub made from the shell of that enormous tortoise.”
“By God, we could shoot thousands of these beasts and never kill them all.”
Off to the side one man sat, notepad in hand, hurriedly recording all he saw.
“Darwin, come quick. Bring your rifle!”

Not for a minute do I believe Darwin would have traveled with a group of men like this. But what if he did? Who would have won the battle between men with guns and men with deep curiosity?