February 13, 2012

Tuesday, 13 February 1912


In a clear moment, Wilson caught sight of the depot flag. "It was an immense relief," Scott wrote, "and we were soon in possession of our 3 1/2 days' food. The relief to all is inexpressible; needless to say, we camped and had a meal."

"Yesterday was the worst experience of the trip and gave a horrid feeling of insecurity. Now we are right up, we must march. In future food must be worked so that we do not run so short if the weather fails us. We mustn't get into a hole like this again. Greatly relieved to find that both the other parties got through safely." [1]

To the north, Lt. Evans could now go no further on his own. Lashly had seen this coming, and they had left behind some of their gear a few days earlier to lighten their sledge. "So we stopped and camped," he wrote, "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 depôted 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." [2]

Atkinson and Dimitri and the two dog teams left Cape Evans for Hut Point. This was a week or so earlier than he had planned, because the sea ice -- the means of getting from one place to the other -- was beginning to break up.


[1] R.F. Scott, diary, 13 February, 1912, quoted in Scott's Last Expedition, v.1.
[2] William Lashly, diary, 13 February, 1912, quoted by Apsley Cherry-Garrard in The Worst Journey in the World, ch.XII. He does not mention his diary, but he obviously kept that with him as well.

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