Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Because it's dawn

"Because it's there" is the answer British climber George Mallory gave those who wondered why he felt he had to climb the world's highest mountains.

The reason behind a recent North Pole expedition is a little more poetic. South African Mike Horn and Norwegian Borge Ousland reached the North Pole last week. Why the Arctic, in winter? Because they wanted to see the sunrise from the North Pole.

The pair finished in 60 days and 5 hours. On day 59, Horn wrote on his Web site, "The Spring Equinox has arrived and the sun is in the sky 24/24. We didn’t realize that what we were seeing before was actually only the reflection of the sun. It wasn’t the sun at all. Now, after 3 months we are looking at the real sun and it is something different altogether. For the first time yesterday we saw shadows. You think you feel heat in the suns rays but in fact you don’t. It really is the most amazing sight.”

The story of the expedition is one of hardship - polar bear encounters, frostbite from temperatures as low as -40 degrees, and walking 620 miles without dogs to pull their sleds.

At the end, Horn wrote, "It's great to finally be standing on the North Pole. This mystical place is all that it is made out to be. It's incredible out here!!"

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