Diary: 25th December 1911 -
22nd February 1912
These diary extracts cover the period when Lashly was
one of the team accompanying Scott on his trek to the South
Pole helping to transport equipment and supplies to be used
by the final small group who were to go to the Pole itself.
Most of the supportive parties had been turned back to the
base hut and there were 8 men left, the time period covers
Lashly's experiences from this point until he himself
arrived back at base.
These diary entries are reproduced here from Apsley Cherry-Garrard's book about the expedition "The Worst Journey in the World" available from Project Gutenberg here
25th December 1911.
Christmas Day and a good one. We have done 15 miles over a very changing surface. First of all it was very much crevassed and pretty rotten; we were often in difficulties as to which way we should tackle it. I had the misfortune to drop clean through, but was stopped with a jerk when at the end of my harness. It was not of course a very nice sensation, especially on Christmas Day, and being my birthday as well. While spinning round in space like I was it took me a few seconds to gather together my thoughts and see what kind of a place I was in. It certainly was not a fairy's place. When I had collected myself I heard some one calling from above, 'Are you all right, Lashly?' I was all right it is true, but I did not care to be dangling in the air on a piece of rope, especially when I looked round and saw what kind of a place it was. It seemed about 50 feet deep and 8 feet wide, and 120 feet long. This information I had ample time to gain while dangling there. I could measure the width with my ski sticks, as I had them on my wrists. It seemed a long time before I saw the rope come down alongside me with a bowline in it for me to put my foot in and get dragged out. It was not a job I should care to have to go through often, as by being in the crevasse I had got cold and a bit frost-bitten on the hands and face, which made it more difficult for me to help myself. Anyhow Mr. Evans, Bowers and Crean hauled me out and Crean wished me many happy returns of the day, and of course I thanked him politely and the others laughed, but all were pleased I was not hurt bar a bit of a shake. It was funny although they called to the other team to stop they did not hear, but went trudging on and did not know until they looked round just in time to see me arrive on top again. They then waited for us to come up with them. The Captain asked if I was all right and could go on again, which I could honestly say 'Yes' to, and at night when we stopped for dinner I felt I could do two dinners in. Anyhow we had a pretty good tuck-in. Dinner consisted of pemmican, biscuits, chocolate éclair, pony meat, plum pudding and crystallized ginger and four caramels each. We none of us could hardly move.
We had done over eight miles at lunch. I had managed to scrape together from the Barrier rations enough extra food to allow us a stick of chocolate each for lunch, with two spoonfuls of raisins each in our tea. In the afternoon we got clear of crevasses pretty soon, but towards the end of the afternoon Captain Scott got fairly wound up and went on and on. The breeze died down and my breath kept fogging my glasses, and our windproofs got oppressively warm and altogether things were pretty rotten. At last he stopped and we found we had done 14¾ miles. He said, "What about fifteen miles for Christmas Day?" so we gladly went on - anything definite is better than indefinite trudging.
We had a great feed which I had kept hidden and out of the official weights since our departure from Winter Quarters. It consisted of a good fat hoosh with pony meat and ground biscuit; a chocolate hoosh made of water, cocoa, sugar, biscuit, raisins, and thickened with a spoonful of arrowroot. (This is the most satisfying stuff imaginable.) Then came 2½ square inches of plum-duff each, and a good mug of cocoa washed down the whole. In addition to this we had four caramels each and four squares of crystallized ginger. I positively could not eat all mine, and turned in feeling as if I had made a beast of myself. I wrote up my journal - in fact I should have liked somebody to put me to bed.
December 26th 1911.
. We have seen many new ranges of mountains extending to the S.E. of the Dominion Range. They are very distant, however, and must evidently be the top of those bounding the Barrier. They could only be seen from the tops of the ridges as waves up which we are continually mounting. Our height yesterday morning by hypsometer was 8000 feet. That is our last hypsometer record, as I had the misfortune to break the thermometer. The hypsometer was one of my chief delights, and nobody could have been more disgusted than myself at its breaking. However, we have the aneroid to check the height. We are going gradually up and up. As one would expect, a considerable amount of lassitude was felt over breakfast after our feed last night. The last thing on earth I wanted to do was to ship the harness round my poor tummy when we started. As usual a stiff breeze from the south and a temperature of -7° blew in our faces. Strange to say, however, we don't get frost-bitten. I suppose it is the open-air life.
I could not tell if I had a frost-bite on my face now, as it is all scales, so are my lips and nose. A considerable amount of red hair is endeavouring to cover up matters. We crossed several ridges, and after the effects of over-feeding had worn off did a pretty good march of thirteen miles.
December 27th 1911.
. There is something the matter with our sledge or our team, as we have an awful slog to keep up with the others. I asked Dr. Bill and he said their sledge ran very easily. Ours is nothing but a desperate drag with constant rallies to keep up. We certainly manage to do so, but I am sure we cannot keep this up for long. We are all pretty well done up to-night after doing 13.3 miles.
Our salvation is on the summits of the ridges, where hard neve and sastrugi obtain, and we skip over this slippery stuff and make up lost ground easily. In soft snow the other team draw steadily ahead, and it is fairly heart-breaking to know you are putting your life out hour after hour while they go along with little apparent effort.
December 28th 1911.
. The last few days have been absolutely cloudless, with unbroken sunshine for twenty-four hours. It sounds very nice, but the temperature never comes above zero and what Shackleton called "the pitiless increasing wind" of the great plateau continues to blow at all times from the south. It never ceases, and all night it whistles round the tents, all day it blows in our faces. Sometimes it is S.S.E., or S.E. to S., and sometimes even S. to W., but always southerly, chiefly accompanied by low drift which at night forms quite a deposit round the sledges. We expected this wind, so we must not growl at getting it. It will be great fun sailing the sledges back before it. As far as weather is concerned we have had remarkably fine days up here on this limitless snow plain. I should like to know what there is beneath us - mountains and valleys simply levelled off to the top with ice? We constantly come across disturbances which I can only imagine are caused by the peaks of ice-covered mountains, and no doubt some of the ice-falls and crevasses are accountable to the same source. Our coming west has not cleared them, as we have seen more disturbances to the west, many miles away. However, they are getting less and less, and are now nothing but featureless rises with apparently no crevasses. Our first two hours' pulling to-day....
December 29, 1911.
A nasty head wind all day and low drift which accumulates in patches and makes it the deuce of a job to get along. We have got to put in long days to do the distance.
December 30, 1911.
Sledges going heavy, surface and wind the same as yesterday. We depoted our ski to-night, that is the party returning to-morrow, when we march in the forenoon and camp to change our sledge runners into 10 feet. Done 11 miles but a bit stiff.
December 31, 1911.
After doing 7 miles we camped and done the sledges which took us until 11 p.m., and we had to dig out to get them done by then, made a depot and saw the old year out and the new year in. We all wondered where we should be next New Year. It was so still and quiet; the weather was dull and overcast all night, in fact we have not seen much of the sun lately; it would be so nice if we could sometimes get a glimpse of it, the sun is always cheering.
January 1st 1912. New Year's Day.
We pushed on as usual, but were rather late getting away, 9.10 - something unusual for us to be as late. The temperature and wind is still very troublesome. We are now ahead of Shackleton's dates and have passed the 87th parallel, so it is only 180 miles to the Pole.
January 2nd, 1912.
The dragging is still very heavy and we seem to be always climbing higher. We are now over 10,000 feet above sea level. It makes it bad as we don't get enough heat in our food and the tea is not strong enough to run out of the pot. Everything gets cold so quickly, the water boils at about 196° F.
3rd January 1912.
Very heavy going to-day. This will be our last night together, as we are to return to-morrow after going on in the forenoon with the party chosen for the Pole, that is Capt. Scott, Dr. Wilson, Capt. Oates, Lieut. Bowers and Taff Evans. The Captain said he was satisfied we were all in good condition, fit to do the journey, but only so many could go on, so it was his wish Mr. Evans, Crean and myself should return. He was quite aware we should have a very stiff job, but we told him we did not mind that, providing he thought they could reach the Pole with the assistance we had been able to give them. The first time I have heard we were having mules coming down to assist us next year. I was offering to remain at Hut Point, to be there if any help was needed, but the Captain said it was his and also Capt. Oates' wish if the mules arrived I was to take charge of and look after them until their return; but if they did not arrive there was no reason why I should not come to Hut Point and wait their return. We had a long talk with the owner [Scott] in our tent about things in general and he seemed pretty confident of success. He seemed a bit afraid of us getting hung up, but as he said we had a splendid navigator, who he was sure he could trust to pull us through. He also thanked us all heartily for the way we had assisted in the Journey and he should be sorry when we parted. We are of course taking the mail, but what a time before we get back to send it. We are nearly as far as Shackleton was on his Journey. I shall not write more to-night, it is too cold.
4th January 1912.
We accompanied the Pole party for about five miles and everything seemed to be going pretty well and Capt. Scott said they felt confident they could pull the load quite well, so there was no more need for us to go on farther; so we stopped and did all the talking we could in a short time. We wished them every success and a safe return, and asked each one if there was anything we could do for them when we got back, but they were all satisfied they had left nothing undone, so the time came for the last handshake and good-bye. I think we all felt it very much. They then wished us a speedy return and safe, and then they moved off. We gave them three cheers, and watched them for a while until we began to feel cold. Then we turned and started for home. We soon lost sight of each other. We travelled a long time so as to make the best of it while the weather was suitable, as we have to keep up a good pace on the food allowance. It wont do to lay up much. One thing since we left Mt. Darwin, we have had weather we could travel in, although we have not seen the sun much of late. We did 13 miles as near as we can guess by the cairns we have passed. We have not got a sledge meter so shall have to go by guess all the way home.
[Owing to the loss of a sledge meter on the Beardmore Glacier one of the three parties had to return without one. A sledge meter gives the navigator his dead reckoning, indicating the miles travelled, like the log of a ship. To be deprived of it in a wilderness of snow without landmarks adds enormously to the difficulties and anxieties of a sledge party.]
5th January 1912.
We were up and off this morning, the weather being fine but the surface is about the same, the temperature keeps low. We have got to change our pulling billets. Crean has become snow-blind to-day through being leader, so I shall have the job to-morrow, as Mr. Evans seems to get blind rather quickly, so if I lead and he directs me from behind we ought to get along pretty well. I hope my eyes will keep alright. We made good 17 miles and camped.
6th January 1912.
We are making good progress on the surface we have to contend with. We picked up the 3 Degree Depot soon after noon, which puts us up to time. We took our provision for a week. We have got to reach Mt. Darwin Depot, a distance of 120 miles, with 7 days' provisions. We picked up our ski and camped for the night. We have been wondering if the others have got the same wind as us. If so it is right in their face, whereas it is at our back, a treat to what it is facing it. Crean's eyes are pretty bad to-night. Snow-blindness is an awful complaint, and no one I can assure you looks forward with pleasure when it begins to attack.
7th January 1912.
We have had a very good day as far as travelling goes, the wind has been behind us and is a great help to us. We have been on ski all day for the first time. It seems a good change to footing it, the one thing day after day gets on one's nerves. Crean's eyes are a bit better to-day, but far from being well. The temperature is pretty low, which dont improve the surface for hauling, but we seem to be getting along pretty well. We have no sledge meter so we have to go by guess. Mr. Evans says we done 17½ miles, but I say 16½. I am not going to over-estimate our day's run, as I am taking charge of the biscuits so that we dont over-step the mark. This we have all agreed to so that we should exactly know how we stand, from day to day. I am still leading, not very nice as the light is bad. We caught a glimpse of the land to the east of us, but could only have been a mirage.
8th January 1912.
On turning out this morning we found it was blowing a bliz. so it was almost a case of having to remain in camp, but on second thoughts we thought it best to kick off as we cant afford to lay up on account of food, so thought it best to push on. I wonder if the Pole Party have experienced this. If so they could not travel as it would be in their face, where we have got it at our back. We have lost the outward bound track, so have decided to make a straight line to Mt. Darwin, which will be on Shackleton's course according to his and Wild's Diary.
[Each of the three parties which went forward up the Beardmore Glacier carried extracts from the above diaries. Wild was Shackleton's right-hand man in his Southern Journey in 1908.]
9th January 1912.
Travelling is very difficult, bad light and still blizzing; it would have been impossible to keep in touch with the cairns in this weather. I am giving 12 miles to-night. The weather have moderated a bit and looks a bit more promising. Can see land at times.
10th January 1912.
The light is still very bad, with a good deal of drift, but we must push on as we are a long way from our depot, but we hope to reach it before our provisions run out. I am keeping a good eye on them. Crean's eyes have got alright again now.
11th January 1912.
Things are a bit better to-day. Could see the land alright and where to steer for. It is so nice to have something to look at, but I am thinking we shall all have our work cut out to reach the depot before our provisions run short. I am deducting a small portion each meal so that we shall not have to go without altogether if we don't bring up at the proper time. Have done about 14 miles.
12th January 1912.
The day has been full of adventure. At first we got into some very rough stuff, with plenty of crevasses. Had to get rid of the ski and put our thinking cap on, as we had not got under way long before we were at the top of some ice-falls; these probably are what Shackleton spoke of. We could see it meant a descent of 600/700 feet, or make a big circuit, which meant a lot of time and a big delay, and this we cant afford just now, so we decided on the descent into the valley. This proved a difficult task, as we had no crampons, having left them at Mt. Darwin Depot; but we managed after a time by getting hold of the sledge each side and allowing her to run into a big lump of pressure which was we knew a risky thing to do. It took us up to lunch time to reach the valley, where we camped for lunch, where we all felt greatly relieved, having accomplished the thing safely, no damage to ourselves or the sledge, but we lost one of Crean's ski sticks. Some of the crevasses we crossed were 100 to 200 feet wide, but well bridged in the centre, but the edges were very dangerous indeed. This is where the snow and ice begins to roll down the glacier. After starting on our way again we found we had to climb the hill. Things dont look very nice ahead again to-night. We dont seem to be more than a day's run from the depot, but it will surprise me if we reach it by to-morrow night; if not we shall have to go on short rations, as our supply is nearly run out, and we have not lost any time, but we knew on starting we had to average 15½ miles per day to reach it in time.
13th January 1912.
This has been a very bad day for us, what with ice-falls and crevasses. We feel all full up to-night. The strain is tremendous some days. We are camped, but not at the depot, but we hope to pick it up some time to-morrow. We shall be glad to get off the Summit, as the temperature is very low. We expected the party would have reached the Pole yesterday, providing they had anything of luck.
(Scott reached the Pole on January 17.)
14th January 1912.
Sunday, we reached the Mt. Darwin Depot at 2 p.m. and camped for lunch. We had just enough now for our meal; this is cutting it a bit fine. We have now taken our 3½ days' allowance, which has got to take us another 57 miles to the Cloudmaker Depot. This we shall do if we all keep as fit as we seem just now. We left a note at the depot to inform the Captain of our safe arrival, wishing them the best of a journey home. We are quite cheerful here to-night, after having put things right at the depot, where we found the sugar exposed to the sun; it had commenced to melt, but we put everything alright before we left, and picked up our crampons and got away as soon as we could. We know there is not much time to spare. We are now beginning to descend rapidly. To-night it is quite warm, and our tea and food is warmer. Things are going pretty favourable. We are looking forward to making good runs down the glacier. We have had some very heavy dragging lately [up] the sharp rises we found on the outward journey. After a sharp rise we found a long gradual run down, two and three miles in length. We noticed this on our outward journey and remarked on it, but coming back the long uphill drag we found out was pretty heavy work.
15th January 1912.
Had a good run to-day but the ice was very rough and very much crevassed, but with crampons on we made splendid progress. We did not like to stop, but we thought it would not be advisable to overdo our strength as it is a long way to go yet.
16th January 1912.
We made good headway again to-day, but to-night we camped in some very rough ice and pressure ridges. We are under the impression we are slightly out of our proper course, but Mr. Evans thinks we cant be very far out either way, and Crean and I are of the same opinion according to the marks on the land. Anyhow we hope to get out of it in the morning and make the Cloudmaker Depot by night. We shall then feel safe, but the weather dont look over promising again to-night, I am thinking. So far we have not had to stop for weather. We have wondered if the Pole Party have been as lucky with the weather as we have. They ought by now to be homeward bound. We have more chance now of writing as the temperature is much better down here. To-night we have been discussing how the dogs got home, and also the progress made by the Doctor's [Atkinson] Party. They ought to be nearing home. We have thought of the time it will take us to reach it at the rate we are getting along now.
17th January 1912.
We have to-day experienced what we none of us ever wants to be our lot again. I cannot describe the maze we got into and the hairbreadth escapes we have had to pass through to-day. This day we shall remember all our lives. The more we tried to get clear the worse the pressure got; at times it seemed almost impossible for us to get along, and when we had got over the places it was more than we could face to try and retreat; so we struggled on for hours to try and free ourselves, but everything seemed against us. I was leading with a long trace so that I could get across some of the ridges when we thought it possible to get the sledge over without being dashed down into the fathomless pits each side of us which were too numerous to think of. Often and often we saw openings where it was possible to drop the biggest ship afloat in and loose her. This is what we have travelled over all day. It has been a great strain on us all, and Mr. Evans is rather down and thinks he has led us into such a hole, but as we have told him it is no fault of his, as it is impossible for anyone coming down the glacier to see what is ahead of them, so we must be thankful that we are so far safe. To-night we seem to be in a better place. We have camped not being able to reach the depot, which we are certain is not far off. Don't want many days like this.
18th January 1912.
We started off all in good spirits trusting we should be able to reach the depot all in good time, but we had not got far before we came into pressure far worse than we were in yesterday. My God! what a day this have been for us all. I cannot describe what we really have to-day come through, no one could believe that we came through with safety, if we had only had a camera we could have obtained some photographs that would have surprised anyone living. We travelled all day with very little food, as we are a day and a half overdue, but when we got clear, I can say "clear" now because I am dotting down this at the depot where we have arrived. I had managed to keep behind just a small amount of biscuit and a drop of tea to liven us up to try and reach the depot, which we reached at 11 p.m. after one of the most trying days of my life. Shall have reason to never forget the 17 and 18 of January, 1912. To-night Mr. Evans is complaining of his eyes, more trouble ahead!
19th January 1912.
After putting the depot in order and re-arranging things, we kicked off again for D. [Lower Glacier] Depot. Mr. Evans' eyes were very bad on starting this morning, but we made a pretty good start. I picked some rock to-day which I intend to try and get back with, as it is the only chance we have had of getting any up to the present, and it seemed a funny thing: the rock I got some pieces of looked as if someone before me had been chipping some off. I wonder if it was the Doctor's party, but we could not see any trace of their sledge, but we could account for that, as it was all blue ice and not likely to leave any marks behind. After travelling for some distance we got on the same ridge as we ran along on the outward Journey and passed what we took to be the Doctor's Xmas Camp. We had not gone far past before we got into soft snow, so we decided to camp for lunch. Mr. Evans' eyes being very bad indeed, we are travelling now on our own, I am leading and telling him the course I am steering, that is the different marks on the mountains, but we shall keep on this ridge for some distance yet. After lunch to-day we did not proceed far before we decided to camp, the surface being so bad and Mr. Evans' eyes so bad, we thought it would do us all good to have a rest. Last night we left a note for Capt. Scott, but did not say much about our difficulties just above the Cloudmaker, as it would be better to tell him when we see him.
20th January 1912.
We did not get away very smart to-day, but as we found the surface very soft, we decided to go on ski. Mr. Evans is still suffering with his eyes and badly, after getting his ski on we tied him on to the trace so that he could help to drag a bit, when we were troubling about the ridges we came over on our outward Journey, but strange to say we never encountered any ridges at all and the surface, although very soft, was the best I have ever sledged over ever since I have been at it. We fancied on our left or to the west we saw what we took to be the ridges what we seem to have missed altogether, although Mr. Evans have been blind and could not see anything at all we have made splendid progress and covered at least 20 miles, as near as we can guess. We passed to-day one of the Doctor's homeward bound camps, and kept on their track for some time, but finally lost it. We are camped to-night and we all feel confident we shall, if the weather remains good, reach the depot to-morrow night.
21st January 1912.
Sunday: We started off as usual, again on ski, the weather again being favourable. Mr. Evans' eyes is still bad, but improving. It will be a good job when they are better. I picked up our outward bound course soon after we started this morning and asked Mr. Evans if I should try and keep it, as it will save him the trouble of directing me, and another thing we came out without going through any crevasses and I have noticed a good many crevasses to-day what seems to be very dangerous ones, and on two occasions where our sledges [on the outward journey] had gone over, two of the crevasses had fallen through. We accomplished the journey from the Cloudmaker to this depot in three days. We all feel quite proud of our performance. Mr. Evans is a lot better to-night and old Tom is giving us a song while he is covering up the tent with snow. We have re-arranged the depot and left our usual note for Capt. Scott, wishing them a speedy return. To-morrow we hope to see and reach the Barrier, and be clear of the Beardmore for ever. We none of us minds the struggle we have been through to attain the amount of success so far reached. It is all for the good of science, as Crean says. We reached the depot at 6.45 p.m.
22nd January 1912.
We made a good start this morning and Mr. Evans' eyes is got pretty well alright again, so things looks a bit brighter. After starting we soon got round the corner from the Granite Pillars to between the mainland and Mt. Hope, on rising up on the slope between the mountain and the mainland, as soon as we sighted the Barrier, Crean let go one huge yell enough to frighten the ponies out of their graves of snow, and no more Beardmore for me after this. When we began to descend on to the Barrier it only required one of us to drag the sledge down to within a mile of the pony and sledge depot, after exchanging our sledge as arranged, picking up a small amount of pony meat, and fitted up bamboo for mast so that we shall be able to fix up a sail when favourable, we proceeded on our way to cross the Barrier. We have now 360 miles to travel geographically to get to Hut Point. Mr. Evans complained to me while outside the tent that he had a stiffness at the back of his legs behind the knees. I asked him what he thought it was, and he said could not account for it, so if he dont soon get rid of it I am to have a look and see if anything is the matter with him, as I know from what I have seen and been told before the symptoms of scurvy is pains and swelling behind the knee round the ankle and loosening of the teeth, ulcerated gums. To-night I watched to see his gums, and I am convinced he is on the point of something anyhow, and this I have spoken to Crean about, but he dont seem to realise it. But I have asked him to wait developments for a time. It seems we are in for more trouble now, but lets hope for the best.
23rd January 1912.
We got away pretty well and did a good journey, having covered about 14 miles over a fairly good surface. We have passed the Blizzard Camp and glad of it too, again to-day we saw in several places where the bridges on the crevasses had fallen through. A good job they none of them fell through when we were going over them as the width would have taken all through with them, and in every case where they had fallen through was where we had gone over, as the mark of the sledge was very distinct in each case. Mr. Evans seems better to-day.
24th January 1912.
Did a good run to-day over a good surface. The weather have been very warm, not much to write to-night as everything is going well.
25th January 1912.
Started off in very thick weather, the temperature is very high and the snow is wet and clogging all day on our ski, which made dragging heavy, and towards evening it got worse. After lunch we got a good breeze for an hour, when it changed to a blizzard and almost rained. We saw the depot ahead sometimes, so we tried to reach it as we thought we might be in for another few days like we had near the land on our outward journey. Anyhow we reached it after a tremendous struggle owing to the wet and bad light. I took off my ski and carried them on my shoulder to finish up the last half a mile. The blizzard died down after we had camped and turned in for the night. Looked at the thermometer which showed 34.
26th January 1912.
This have been a most wonderful day for surface. This morning when we started the thermometer stood at 34, much too high for sledging. We were on ski or we might have been on stilts for the amount of snow clogging on our ski, dont know how we should have got on without our ski, as the snow was so very soft we sank right in when we tried to go on foot, but we were fortunate to get the wind behind us and able to make use of the sail. We made a very good day of it, did 13 miles: 8 of this after lunch. I did not feel well outside the tent this morning. I came over quite giddy and faint, but it passed off quickly and have felt no more of it all day.
27th January 1912.
We had a good run to-day with the sail up. It only required one of us to keep it straight, no need whatever to pull, but it was very hot, anyone could take off all their clothes and march. It is really too hot for this part of the world, but I daresay we shall soon get it a bit colder. Did 14½ miles, it is nice to be able to see the tracks and cairns of our outward journey. We feel satisfied when we have done a good day and in good time. Mr. Evans is now suffering from looseness of the bowels. Crean had a touch of it a few days ago, but he is quite alright again.
28th January 1912.
To-day it have been a very heavy drag. The snow is still very soft and the sun very hot, it fairly scorches anyone's face. We are almost black now and our hair is long and getting white through being exposed to the light, it gets bleached. I am glad to say it is cooler to-night, generally. We got over 12½ miles again to-day. Mr. Evans is still very loose in his bowels. This, of course, hinders us, as we have had to stop several times. Only another few more Sundays and we hope to be safely housed at Hut Point, or Cape Evans. We have now been out 97 days.
29th January 1912.
Another good day was helped by the sail all day. One man could again manage for about two hours. The weather is still very warm, plus 20 again. Did 16½ miles, only 14 to the next depot. Mr. Evans is still suffering from the same complaint: have come to the conclusion to stop his pemmican, as I feel that it have got something to do with him being out of sorts. Anyhow we are going to try it. Gave him a little brandy and he is taking some chalk and opium pills to try and stop it. His legs are getting worse and we are quite certain he is suffering from scurvy, at least he is turning black and blue and several other colours as well.
30th January 1912.
Very bad light but fair wind, picked up the depot this evening. Did the 14 miles quite in good time, after taking our food we found a shortage of oil and have taken what we think will take us to the next depot. There seems to have been some leakage in the one can, but how we could not account for that we have left a note telling Capt. Scott how we found it, but they will have sufficient to carry them on to the next depot, but we all know the amount of oil allowed on the Journey is enough, but if any waste takes place it means extra precautions in the handling of it. Mr. Evans is still without pemmican and seems to have somewhat recovered from the looseness, but things are not by a long way with him as they should be. Only two more depots now to pick up.
31st January 1912.
Another very good run to-day but the light being very bad we had to continually stop and steer by compass. This a difficult task, especially as there was no wind to help keep on the course, but it have cleared again to-night, the temperature is plus 20 in the day and 10 at night just now. Did 13 miles. Mr. Evans is allowed a little pemmican as the work is hard and it wants a little warm food to put life into anyone in this part of the world.
1st February 1912.
We had a very fine day but a very heavy pull, but we did 13 miles. Mr. Evans and myself have been out 100 days to-day. I have had to change my shirt again. This is the last clean side I have got. I have been wearing two shirts and each side will now have done duty next the skin, as I have changed round each month, and I have certainly found the benefit of it, and on the point we all three agree. Mr. Evans is still gradually worse: it is no good closing our eyes to the fact. We must push on as we have a long way to go yet.
2nd February 1912.
A very bad light again to-day: could not make much progress, only did 11 miles, but we must think ourselves lucky we have not had to lay up and get delayed, but we have had the wind and more behind us, otherwise we should have had to stop. Mr. Evans is no better but seems to be in great pain, but he keeps quite cheerful we are pleased to say.
3rd February 1912.
This morning we were forced to put Mr. Evans on his ski and strap him on, as he could not lift his legs. I looked at them again and found they are rapidly getting worse, things are looking serious on his part, but we have been trying to pump him up he will get through alright, but he begins to think different himself, but if we get to One Ton and can get a change of food it may relieve him. He is a brick, there is plenty of pluck: one cannot but admire such pluck. The light have been dreadful all day and I seemed to have got a bit depressed at times, not being able to see anything to know where I was on the course or not and not getting a word from Mr. Evans. I deliberately went off the course to see if anyone was taking notice but to my surprise I was quickly told I was off the course. This I thought, but wanted to know if he was looking out, which he was. It came on to bliz after we camped, we ought to reach Mt. Hooper to-morrow night.
4th February 1912.
Started in splendid weather, but the surface was bad and dragging was very heavy, but it improved as the day went on, and we arrived at the depot at 7.40 p.m. We are now 180 miles from Hut Point, and this Sunday night we hope to be only two more Sundays on the Barrier. No improvement in Mr. Evans, much worse. We have taken out our food and left nearly all the pemmican as we dont require it on account of none of us caring for it, therefore we are leaving it behind for the others. They may require it. We have left our note and wished them every success on their way, but we have decided it is best not to say anything about Mr. Evans being ill or suffering from scurvy. This old cairn have stood the weather and is still a huge thing.
5th February 1912.
Had a very fine day and a good light all day, which makes things much more cheerful. Did not get away before 9 o'clock but we did 11½ miles, it is gradually getting colder. Mr. Evans is still getting worse, to-day he is suffering from looseness in the bowels: shall have to stop his pemmican.
6th February 1912.
Another fine day but sun was very hot and caused us to sweat a good deal, but we dont mind as we are pretty used to such changes. We shall soon be looking for land ahead, which will be Mt. Discovery or Mt. Erebus, we have 155 miles to go to Hut Point: done alright again 13½ miles, we do wonderfully well especially as Mr. Evans have got to go very slowly first off after stopping until he gets the stiffness out of his legs, but he is suffering a good deal and in silence, he never complains, but he dont get much sleep. We shall all be glad when we arrive at One Ton, where there is a change of food for us all. The pemmican is too much, especially when the weather is warm.
7th February 1912.
A very fine day but heavy going. We are bringing the land in sight. The day have been simply lovely, did 12 miles. No better luck with our patient, he gets along without a murmur. We have got to help him in and out of the tent, but we have consulted on the matter and he is determined to go to the last, which we know is not far off, as it is difficult for him to stand, but he is the essence of a brick to keep it up, but we shall have to drag him on the sledge when he cant go any further.
8th February 1912.
To-day have been very favourable and fine, we had a good breeze and set sail after lunch. If we get a good day to-morrow we hope to reach One Ton. Mr. Evans have passed a good deal of blood to-day, which makes things look a lot worse. I have to do nearly everything for him now.
9th February 1912.
A very fine day and quite warm. Reached the depot at 5.5 p.m. and we all had a good feed of oatmeal. Oh, what a God-send to get a change of food! We have taken enough food for 9 days, which if we still keep up our present rate of progress it ought to take us in to Hut Point. We cannot take too heavy a load, as there is only the two of us pulling now, and this our last port of call before we reach Hut Point, but things are not looking any too favourable for us, as our leader is gradually getting lower every day. It is almost impossible for him to get along, and we are still 120 miles from Hut Point.
10th February 1912.
We did a good march, in very thick weather. To-night we are camped and I am sorry to say Mr. Evans is in a very bad state. If this is scurvy I am sorry for anyone it attacks. We shall do our utmost to get him back alive, although he is so ill, he is very cheerful, which is very good and tries to do anything to help us along. We are thinking the food, now we have got a change, may improve things. I am very pleased to say Crean and myself are in the best of health, which we are thankful for.
11th February 1912.
To-day we built a cairn and left all our gear we could do without, as it is impossible for us to drag the load now, and Mr. Evans we think is doing well as long as he can keep on his legs. We have had a very bad light all day, and to-night we have a bliz on us, so we had to camp early. Our day's run has been 11 miles. We are now about 99 miles from our base.
12th February 1912.
We did not get away until 10 o'clock on account of bad weather, but after we put Mr. Evans on his ski he went on slowly. It is against our wish to have to send him on a little in advance, but it is best as we shall have to drag him out of this we are certain. He has fainted on two or three occasions, but after a drop of brandy he has been able to proceed, but it is very awkward, especially as the temperature is so low. We are afraid of his getting frost-bitten. Our progress is very slow, the light is very bad, and it is seldom we see the land.
13th February 1912.
We got away in good time, but progress was slow, and Mr. Evans could not go, and we consulted awhile and came to the conclusion it would be best to put him on the sledge, otherwise he may not pull through, so we stopped and camped, and decided to drop everything we can possibly do without, so we have only got our sleeping bags, cooker, and what little food and oil we have left. Our load is not much, but Mr. Evans on the sledge makes it pretty heavy work for us both, but he says he is comfortable now. This morning he wished us to leave him, but this we could not think of. We shall stand by him to the end one way or other, so we are the masters to-day. He has got to do as we wish and we hope to pull him through. This morning when we depoted all our gear I changed my socks and got my foot badly frostbitten, and the only way was to fetch it round. So although Mr. Evans was so bad he proposed to stuff it on his stomach to try and get it right again. I did not like to risk such a thing as he is certainly very weak, but we tried it, and it succeeded in bringing it round, thanks to his thoughtfulness, and I shall never forget the kindness bestowed on me at a critical time in our travels, but I think we could go to any length of trouble to assist one another; in such time and such a place we must trust in a higher power to pull us through. When we pack up now and have to move off we have to get everything ready before we attempt to move the tent, as it is impossible for our leader now to stand, therefore it is necessary to get him ready before we start. We then pull the sledge alongside his bag and lift him on to it and strap him on. It is a painful piece of work and he takes it pretty well, but we can't help hurting him, as it is very awkward to lift him, the snow being soft and the light so bad, but he dont complain. The only thing we hear him grind his teeth.
14th February 1912.
Another good start after the usual preparation, we have not got much to pack, but it takes us some time, to get our invalid ready, the surface is very bad and our progress is very slow, but we have proposed to go longer hours and try to cover the distance, that is if we can stick it ourselves.
15th February 1912.
We started in fine weather this morning, but it soon came over thick and progress became slow. We had to continually consult the compass, as we have had no wind to assist us, but after awhile the sun peeped out and the wind sprang up and we were able to set sail, which helped us put in a good march.
16th February 1912.
To-day it have been a very heavy drag all day, and the light is very bad, but we had the pleasure of seeing Castle Rock and Observation Hill. We uncovered Mr. Evans to let him have a look and we have reduced our ration now to one half as it is impossible for us to reach Hut Point under four days, that is if everything goes favourable with us.
17th February 1912.
To-day it has been thick, this morning soon after we started we saw what we thought was the dog tent [the two dog-teams going out to meet the Polar Party], a thing we had been looking for to try and get relief, but when we came up to it we found it was only a piece of biscuit box stuck on an old camp for a guide. It shows how deceiving the things here are. I can tell you our hopes were raised, but on reaching it they dropped again considerably. We were able to see the land occasionally, and during one of the breaks this afternoon we spotted the motor. Oh, what joy! We again uncovered Mr. Evans to let him have a look and after trudging along for another three hours we brought up alongside it and camped for the night. We are now only a little over 30 miles from Hut Point: if we could only see the dogs approaching us, but they, we think, may have passed us while the weather have been thick. Mr. Evans is getting worse every day, we are almost afraid to sleep at night as he seems very weak. If the temperature goes much lower it will be a job to keep him warm. We have found some biscuits here at the motor but nothing else, but that will assist greatly on our way. The slogging have been heavy all day. We are pretty tired to-night. I don't think we have got the go in us we had, but we must try and push on.
18th February 1912.
I started to move Mr. Evans this morning, but he completely collapsed and fainted away. Crean was very upset and almost cried, but I told him it was no good to create a scene but put up a bold front and try to assist. I really think he thought Mr. Evans had gone, but we managed to pull him through. We used the last drop of brandy. After awhile we got him on the sledge and proceeded as usual, but finding the surface very bad and we were unable to make less than a mile an hour, we stopped and decided to camp. We told Mr. Evans of our plans, which were: Crean should proceed, it being a splendid day, on foot to Hut Point to obtain relief if possible. This we had agreed to between ourselves. I offered to do the Journey and Crean remain behind, but Tom said he would much rather I stayed with the invalid and look after him, so I thought it best I should remain, and these plans were agreed to by all of us, so after we had camped the next thing was the food problem. We had about a day's provisions with extra biscuit taken from the motor, and a little extra oil taken from the same place, so we gave Crean what he thought he could manage to accomplish the Journey of 30 miles geographical on, which was a little chocolate and biscuits. We put him up a little drink, but he would not carry it. What a pity we did not have some ski, but we dumped them to save weight. So Crean sailed away in splendid weather for a try to bring relief. I was in a bit of a sweat all day and remained up to watch the weather till long after midnight. I was afraid of the weather, but it kept clear and I thought he might have reached or got within easy distance of Hut Point; but there was the possibility of his dropping down a crevasse, but that we had to leave to chance, but none the more it was anxious moments as if it comes on to drift the weather is very treacherous in these parts. After Crean left I left Mr. Evans and proceeded to Corner Camp which was about a mile away, to see if there was any provisions left there that would be of use to us. I found a little butter, a little cheese, and a little treacle that had been brought there for the ponies. I also went back to the motor and got a little more oil while the weather was fine. I also got a large piece of burbery and tied on a long bamboo and stuck up a big flag on our sledge so that anyone could not pass our way without seeing us or our flag. I found a note left at Corner Camp by Mr. Day saying there was a lot of very bad crevasses between there and the sea ice, especially off White Island. This put me in a bit of a fix, as I, of course, at once thought of Crean. He being on foot was more likely to go down than he would had he been on ski. I did not tell Mr. Evans anything about the crevasses, as I certainly thought it would be best kept from him. I just told him the note was there and all was well.
19th February 1912.
To-day Mr. Evans seems a bit better and more cheerful, the rest will do him good and assist in getting a little strength. We have been wondering when relief will reach us, but we cannot expect it for at least a day or two yet at the earliest. It was very thick this morning and also very cold. The temperature is dropping rapidly. Our tent was all covered in frost rime to-day, a sure sign of colder weather. It was very thick this morning but cleared as the day advanced, but we could not see Hut Point. I wonder if poor old Tom reached alright. We have very little food now except biscuit, but oil is better. We have got ½ gallon and if relief dont come for some time we shall be able to have hot water when all other things are gone. I have thought out a plan for the future, in case of no relief coming, but of course we took all things into consideration in case of failure, but we must hope for the best. Of course I know it is no use thinking of Mr. Evans being able to move any further as he cant stand at all, the only thing is, we may have missed the dogs, if so there is still a chance of someone being at Hut Point. I am cold now and cannot write more to-night. We lose the sun at midnight now. If all had went well we should have been home by now.
20th February 1912.
Tuesday not a nice day. A low drift all the morning and increased to a blizzard at times. Have had to remain in the tent all day to try and keep warm. Have not got much food except biscuits. Mr. Evans is about the same but quite cheerful. We have had whole journey over and over: it have passed these three days away. We have wondered how they are getting on behind us; we have worked it out and they ought to be on the Barrier now, with anything of luck. We have been gambling on the condition of the ice and the possibility of the open water at Hut Point at any time now, and also about what news of home, although home is one of the foremost thoughts we hardly ever mention it, only what we are going to have to eat when we do arrive there. I think we have got everything that is good down on our list. Of course New Zealand have got to be answerable for a good deal: plenty of apples we are going to have and some nice home-made cake, not too rich, as we think we can eat more. I wonder if the mules will have arrived, as I am to look after them till Capt. Oates returns, as Anton will be gone home, or at least going soon. We shall have to hurry up as the ship is to leave again on the 2nd of March, as it is not safe to remain longer in these regions. I am now too cold to write, and I don't seem settled at all and the weather is still pretty bad outside, so we are not going to look for anything to come along to-night. "Hark!" from us both. "Yes, it is the dogs near. Relief at last. Who is there?" I did not stay to think more before I was outside the tent. "Yes, sir, it is alright." The Doctor and Dimitri. "How did you see us?" "The flag Lash," says Dimitri. The Doctor, "How is Mr. Evans?" "Alright, but low." But this had a good effect on him. After the first few minutes we got their tent pitched and the food they brought us I was soon on the way preparing a meal for us all, but Mr. Evans cannot have pemmican, but the Doctor have brought everything that will do him good, some onions to boil and several other things. Dimitri brought along a good lump of cake: we are in clover. To-night after the Doctor had examined my patient and we got through a good deal of talk about everything we could think of, especially home news and the return parties and the ship and those in her. We were sorry to hear she had not been able to get very near, and that the mules had arrived, and I dont know what, we now settled down for a good night. It seems to me we are in a new world, a weight is off my mind and I can once more see a bright spot in the sky for us all, the gloom is now removed. The bliz is bad outside, and Doctor and Dimitri is gone and turned in, so will [I] once more, but sleep is out of the question.
21st February 1912.
The day have been very bad and we are obliged to remain until it clears. We are going to move off as soon as it clears, the day have been very cold, so we have had to remain in our bags, but things are alright and we have got plenty to eat now. We have all retired for the night as the bliz is still raging outside.
22nd February 1912.
The wind went down about 9 p.m., so we began to move and were ready to kick off at 10, and proposed to do the journey in two stages. It was fearful heavy going for the poor dogs, we arranged so that Mr. Evans was on Dimitri's sledge and Doctor and myself was on the other. We have done about half the journey and are now camped for a rest for the dogs and ourselves. We had a stiff 16 miles: the Doctor and myself, we took turns in riding on the sledge and walking and running to keep up to the dogs. Sometimes we sank in up to the knees, but we struggled through it. My legs is the most powerful part of me now, but I am tired and shall be glad when it is over. I must lie down now, as we are starting again soon for Hut Point, but the surface is getting better as we have passed White Island and can see so plainly the land. Castle Rock and good old Erebus look so stately with the smoke rolling out. It is so clear and calm and peaceful. What a change in our surroundings of a few days ago and also our prospects. Doctor and Dimitri have done everything they could for us.
22nd February 1912.
We started off after a rest for the dogs and reached here at Hut Point at 1 p.m. where we can rest in peace for a time. Dimitri and Crean are going to Cape Evans: the ship is nowhere in sight. Have had to get some seal meat and ice and prepare a meal. Mr. Evans is alright and asleep. We are looking for a mail now. How funny we should always be looking for something else, now we are safe.
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