We are there!
At 1600 GMT today, the traverse rolled into Troll Station, welcomed by the entire station crew and guests. It seems hard to grasp, but the field part of the Norwegian-American Scientific Traverse of East Antarctica 2007-2009 is completed.
Location: Troll Station, 72º 01’ S, 2º 32’ E, 1250 metres a.s.l.
Weather: Clear, -10 C, wind 5 kts
As always, it is with mixed feelings that such a large-scale endeavour is brought to an end. Everyone on board is relieved to see the job done, to have finished this effort in style, and to return to normal life – but on the other hand, we have had a really good time together and enjoyed some great moments on our way across the Antarctic Plateau, a truly magnificent place. As always, there is something to be missed when a journey ends and a new one begins.
Thus we have happily, but somewhat hesitantly descended from the plateau and down to Troll Station. We had accustomed ourselves to life in the field, and the arrival at Troll Station seemed to lie ahead of us just like any other day on the traverse. Until we crossed the last hill into the station, we were still in traverse mode; still the outside world seemed almost too far away to matter. Then, all of a sudden, we are met by a veritable ticker-tape parade staged by the station crew at Troll, 30 persons lined up to see us break the finish tape, pop the champagne, pose for group photos, answer hundreds of questions. There were cheers, there were hugs and handshakes, there were showers, saunas and hot tub soaks, there was a dinner with prominent guests from Norway, South Africa, Germany, and Canada, there were speeches, there were stories and toasts, there were celebrations.
And finally it dawns upon us: We’re done! We have completed a grand voyage, we have behind us a job well done, we have a true achievement to our credit. So, thank you to all who met us, thank you for making us feel that we have completed something significant, thank you for making us feel that you were all a part of it.
And thank you to all of you who have followed us en route. It has been truly inspiring!
The ”lead dog” Lasse breaking the finish tape at Troll Station. Photo: Ken Pedersen.