The Worst Journey in the World
3 journalers for this copy...
And when he's not explaining how much weight a pony could haul or what the beasts were fed on, Cherry's story can get very exciting indeed. At one point there were men and horses on ice floes, beset all around by eager killer whales who were actively butting the ice trying to dislodge the prey! And then there's the "worst journey" of the title: a near-suicidal expedition by Cherry-Garrard, Bowers, and Wilson, in the middle of the Antarctic winter, to try and reach the colony of Emperor penguins and retrieve eggs at an early stage of development. Traveling entirely in the dark, beset by temperatures that reached 70 to 100 degrees below zero, having to cross crevasses and icy slopes, facing blizzards... the fact that they got there and back is little short of miraculous.
And perhaps it was; if so, they may have used up most of the luck of the expedition, for of course Scott's own drive to the south pole didn't turn out quite as well. But his fate has tended to overshadow the perils faced by those who survived, and this book gives place to all of those as well. An informative and entertaining (and sometimes harrowing) addition to the "must reads" of real-life adventure literature.
[This book also makes for an interesting compare-and-contrast with Roland Huntford's rather scathing account of the south-pole expeditions, Last Place on Earth.]
Edited to add: I just stumbled across a fascinating web site. There's an ongoing project to conserve some of the huts and artifacts from the early Antarctic expeditions, and you can see more about it here! I was thrilled to check back over the last few weeks' worth of entries to find that they'd managed to melt the ice around Scott's old "Discovery" hut, revealing all sorts of bits and pieces that had been lying there for almost a century...
nteresting. Thanks for including it.
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