Cracking day - 21.52 km covered. Terrain was a little more forgiving than in recent days - only a couple of small pressure ridges to cross - and the snow has a hard crust making travel faster. Current latitude is 89 degrees 43 minutes 8.5 seconds. What that means is: less than 17 nautical miles to the North Pole!
So there are now only two days left before this journey ends... assuming the weather doesn't turn into a whiteout, trapping us in the tent for several days. I have mixed feelings: sadness and elation.
I'm sad because, in a way, this journey feels like it has only just started. I've developed a routine for life in a tent, for skiing at two hour stretches and taking food breaks where necessary. That process has only just been hammered out and solidified into one I don't have to think about - the steps are now a habit, and one I will soon discard until my next, bigger journey.
There is a sense of melancholy over the fate of the Arctic ice. The increasing instability and rate at which the polar ice cap fractures and melts may preclude future expositions to this beautiful place. If this is the case then the world will be a much poorer place.
Putting aside my sadness, I look forward to arriving at the pole, drinking a small bottle of whisky and taking a number of promised photographs. More than the end point, I can't wait to have a shower (there is a slightly less glamorous side to trekking and one I'll leave to your imagination). I want to hug my children. And I want to start planning the next trip.
Now you'll have to excuse me - my freeze dried chicken curry awaits, as does my hot grape juice.
I'll have one more update for you all and will post from the North Pole.