Saturday, 16 May 2009

MURRAY, DAY 23, 15th MAY

Excruciating! This is a word that I very, very, very rarely use but today is the day that I will officially use it. Needless to say that it’s not in the context of ‘I’ve had an excruciatingly nice day’, on the contrary, I have had the most excruciatingly painful day of my life. We all know that I’ve had an assortment of feet related issues over the course of the expedition - blisters, bruising, etc. All were a manageable amount of pain. However since my last binding disintegrated yesterday I’ve been left skiless and have had to start walking the last 70km. This morning I discovered that my feet wouldn’t go into my boots. Usually I put this down to frozen boots but after thawing them over the stove still no luck. I examined my feet and discovered that my heels had doubled in size, however we still need to get out of here so with an agonizing squeeze I got the boots on. “Hardest part done”, I thought to myself. But no, with every step came the sharpest of pains, as if I’d stepped on a knife. This is supposed to be the easiest and most enjoyable part of the expedition - blue skies, hard snow, downhill and light sleds. And the prospect of finishing and a hot shower and clean dry bed, I kept thinking to myself as the crusty ice collapsed under my weight, sending me off balance and making me shout obscenities to the high heavens. Today turned out to be a mixture of two ‘Last Man Standing’ episodes. Running in Siberia and climbing a mountain with a 25kg rock in Nepal. Only the snow gives way here and the rocks are twice the size. Even so we still bashed out 31.4km, leaving us at a position of 67 07.403’N, 49 15.450’W, altitude 1102m. Resting our feet, as Niall has equally bad problems with his feet, we’ve come to the conclusion that we’re going to run the gauntlet tomorrow and try and complete the 35km to the finish. We’re pencilled in to fly back to the UK on Wednesday so be prepared to crack out the finest Jaffa cakes in celebration because the boys will be back in town.

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