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Some are actuated simply by a love of adventure, some have the keen thirst for scientific knowledge, and others again are drawn away from the trodden paths by the ‘lure of little voices,’ the mysterious fascination of the unknown.” The book was illustrated with photographs from the expedition, and Worsley stared at them in wonder.There was the hut, crammed with a stove and canned goods and a phonograph, where Shackleton and his men had wintered on Ross Island, off the coast of Antarctica.One day, he retrieved a copy of “The Heart of the Antarctic,” Shackleton’s account of his gallant but doomed attempt, in 1907-09, to reach the South Pole.(The journey was known as the Nimrod expedition, for the ship he had commanded.) Worsley read the opening lines: “Men go out into the void spaces of the world for various reasons.Every few days, he checked on them, jotting down in a notebook how many eggs had been laid, or how fast the hatchlings were growing.He had little interest in his classroom studies, but he often disappeared into the library and read poetry and tales of adventure.Although he was not physically overpowering, he competed as if something were gnawing at him, diving head first after balls and skiing off marked trails to plunge through murderous woods.
He was also raising money for the Endeavour Fund, a charity for wounded soldiers.I certainly made a dog’s breakfast of the first three hours, at one stage wondering why the wind had suddenly switched from the east to the north. Anyway, I’m back on track and now happy I can part a straight line, even through another day of the white darkness. His feet were blistered and his toenails were discolored.By the middle of January, 2016, he had travelled more than eight hundred miles, and virtually every part of him was in agony. His fingers had started to become numb with frostbite. a little further.” He had just reached the summit of the Titan Dome and was beginning to descend, the force of gravity propelling him toward his destination, which was only about a hundred miles away. It was hard to breathe, and each time he exhaled the moisture froze on his face: a chandelier of crystals hung from his beard; his eyebrows were encased like preserved specimens; his eyelashes cracked when he blinked. The temperature was nearly minus forty degrees Fahrenheit, and it felt far colder because of the wind, which sometimes whipped icy particles into a blinding cloud, making him so disoriented that he toppled over, his bones rattling against the ground. Sixty-two days earlier, on November 13, 2015, he’d set out from the coast of Antarctica, hoping to achieve what his hero, Ernest Shackleton, had failed to do a century earlier: to trek on foot from one side of the continent to the other. According to his coördinates, he was on the Titan Dome, an ice formation near the South Pole that rises more than ten thousand feet above sea level.