Monday, 2 May 2011

Final Day

I wimped out. I couldn't face the tent after realising that Milos was preparing to bring the short haired dogs into the cabin and that there was still the relative comfort of Scuzzy Sofa free so I left Mark and Rob to brave the elements and just managed to get on to the sofa before 4 very cold and very grateful dogs ran inside. They snuggled up with whoever would have them and eventually Laura, Andy and Steve climbed into their cosy roof space, Milos had the sofa to himself whilst Gaynor encouraged the dogs to lie on a mat on the floor by lying with them and Cute and I fought for space on Scuzzy Sofa. She soon worked out that if she made herself long and thin she could lie in the space behind me and not be seen and we stayed like this till there was movement from Balto.

We all got some sleep, however disrupted for our various reasons and began the day with the laborious task of packing up after a relatively laid back day, when pretty much everything had been unpacked (including the beach ball). There was little food and drink left once we'd eaten breakfast so we all had light sleds, but the dogs were not as eager as they had been so the first few miles were good sledding across icy wastes. No features at all for some way and slowly the wind got up and the snow blew in horizontally from nowhere and gave us a disorientating white out. Again the team separated and Milos kept us all in sight by stopping regularly but it was a good final run nonetheless.

 The terrain turned to tundra as we dropped down from the high ground and soon we were back in the kind of land that we had camped in on the first night, surrounded by tiny, stunted birch trees. I've been reading all about these trees in my wonderful book 'Cold' and in some sub zero regions other trees can survive but in miniature, bonsai willows grow a few inches high, but in perfect proportion.

Finally we came out by a road, where we we met by Jan, not a very salubrious end to the trip, it rather hit us like a train, but we made it and we are all in one piece. The journey in the van back to Per Nils house was silent, and I was very grateful to Mark for lending me his iPod, filled with 80's music to keep me from slipping into the abyss, although I have to admit to letting a few tears run down my face staring out into the snow, listening to Depeche Mode.

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