Today we were again, faced with trying weather conditions. When we came out of the tents after lunch there was a complete whiteout. Its like being inside a pingpong ball, white surrounds you and you can't see past it no matter how much you try (Trust me, I've tried). It is still possible to walk in a whiteout, it just makes it slow going, a bit tougher mentally and harder to keep the line straight if you are in the front!
There is absolutely nothing you can do about the weather, it is something that is 100% out of our control. I think thats why it makes people so furious when the weather isn't to their liking. The only thing you can do is try to find a silver lining (or perhaps do a rain dance). So on the days when we haven't been able to walk, I have had to battle with my mind to not get negative, to not feel like we are wasting time and falling behind in our schedule. Instead I try to be grateful for a rest day, be glad that my body has a chance to rest and recover. We just have to be prepared, keep ourselves safe and have back up plans for adverse conditions.
I haven't been in an environment like this before so this has been a big learning curve for me. If you try to keep walking through big winds with wind chill factor of -30, there will be consequences.
I am enjoying learning from our guide Bengt, he is very experienced and has a lot of knowledge.
Im noticing that small things are grinding me down, this happens when I am exhausted, hungry and tired. The speed that we are walking is too slow for me to find a rhythm, it is also too slow for my heavy sled. It is so hard to get the sled over bumps at this speed and it is constantly tipping over. I can recognise my mood being so changeable, it reminds me of my NewZealand walk and how I would feel if I hadn't eaten all day and was exhausted.
Today I called my parents and Ngaio, it gave me the extra boost I needed for the last few days. We have been able to send short messages each day thanks to Tony from Track Me NZ. I was so lucky that Tony contacted me just prior to me leaving on this expedition, it has been so special to be able to keep in contact with my family and awesome for my family that they can track my progress.
Although this expedition is tough, I am rediscovering the grit that I have to push through the exhaustion and the discomfort. It is a great reminder of just how strong I can be.