For the past five days I have been so incredibly tired that all I felt I could do, was sleep. Outside endless snow kept falling from the sky. Around 50cm of fresh powder must have been dumped on us during the past three days. When I was driving back PJ’s overnight guests yesterday, they asked me if the road we were driving on was a forest track. So much snow had fallen that there was hardly any trace of it left.
If I felt worn out before my last three-day tour, that one took the lot of me. After every really nice group, it seems the opposite has to occur. These people did not understand how to drive a sled. And that’s ok. For some people it’s hard. But they were careless. They did not listen to any instructions I gave them. Even after telling them countless times they had to hold on to their sleds, they kept losing them. I feared one of their runaway sleds would injure the dogs. I feared they would crash into them. By the end of it, my energy was drained.
When I woke up and knew I had a day tour this morning, I felt every muscle ache. Even though it wasn’t that cold outside I became mildly hypothermic with a body temperature of only 35 degrees. My eyesight blurred. I felt like a drunk slugging through all that fresh snow. After I put the sleds out and harnessed the dogs, I luckily had 10 minutes to get some water into my system before PJ showed up with the guests.
Rest is not an option as we are not at the end of the season just yet. March is here, the final one out of six months up in the Arctic. The hardest time is over and the final lap to the end has begun. The coldest, the darkest, the hardest: those days should now be behind us. From here on it’s only sunshine and good times to the finish. But it seems those dark, cold and hard days have taken a toll. Bringing up 125l of water from the lake every day, hauling around 35 kilos of meat every day, dragging around diesel, gasoline, sleds, dogs, snow mobiles: there is no end to it, and there is no day without it.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been so physically exhausted. I am starting to look like a body builder but I certainly didn’t feel like one. A sore back, a tense left achilles tendon, weak knees, shin splints, muscle cramps: the whole lot came busting in at once and didn’t disappear. After every task I had to lie down for a bit to recover. Lifting up water, going around with buckets of meat soup: my body could take no more.
I tried to remember the past times it happened to gather than iron will again. The times I felt my knees were going to give in while in New Zealand. The evenings PJ and I sat inside our sleeping bags last winter when it was -45 outside and only 2 degrees inside. I survived that, right? Anyhow, there are no excuses, no matter the pain. The dogs have to eat. The dogs have to be taken care of. So I dragged myself outside and did what had to be done. I was relieved though to have PJ around so we could split the bill.