The hidden years 135, the blizzard

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Monday 24 August 06:29

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The blizzard

In slow, very slow motion, we glided without friction to the side of the path and pushed into the embankment and then sideways off. I expected us to tip over but I just suddenly hit my head against the side of the steel cabin, when we were standing still with a jolt. That coming to a stand still was accompanied by a grinding noise. The engine had stalled and there was silence. Some clicking noises of metal under the hood of the engine cooling down. We stood in an angle, leaning against a row of old pine trees. The large exterior mirror had been rubbed off by the old forest giants. ‘Bloody hell,’ said Bill, ‘that should not have happened much later, 'and he pointed to an abyss around the bend. The truck and its trailer with cargo hung askew, half on the verge and half off, leaning against the pine trees. ‘How do we get out of here,’ I asked. ‘Normally with a winch, but there is nothing here to attach to’ Bill replied, ‘and I'm afraid to put traction on the wheels because now we are still fairly safe, but what moves will the trailer  make as we try to pull away. ‘

He grabbed the cord of the air horn and blew three short blasts from it. He started the engine again and said, ‘we'll see what happens, we are within a mile of the camp.’ ‘Here we won’t get away with the ice and all, not on our own power, we will need a salvage vehicle like a bunch of bulldozers, but first they must come.’ ‘Shall I go and walk there,’ I asked, half hoping he'd say no. ‘No,’ Bill said, ‘let me teach you something about polar conditions.’ I looked at him intently. ‘When you are walking  through minus 40 to 50 degrees, your muscles stiffen up, your clothes go hard and your blood vessels contract. Which causes your blood pressure to rise enormously and that causes you to go out of breath and your lungs will go raw from the cold and you’ll get oxygen deficiency, should I go on?‘ ‘You mean,’ I said, ‘that I would not get to the encampment?’. ‘That's right, that is what I mean,’ said Bill. I’ll keep the engine on, otherwise the whole thing freezes up and then we are worse off.‘ ‘If they do not hear us in the camp, there are still other ways to get their attention.’ ‘We have to make ourselves just as comfortable as possible before they come along.’ I knew nothing to say because it was clear to me that Bill was an experienced old hand in this area.

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‘Look,’ Bill said, 'we have not done well, we don’t have food stock with us, imagine  that we must be here a few days here until they find us, we’ll starve to death. ‘ I started to see the fix we were in. ‘If we are not there within a few days,’ continued Bill, ‘then they'll call the center to see if something has gone wrong, because that camp is waiting for supplies. Then they’ll be told that the cargo has been sent. Perhaps they call the trading post to see if we visited there and ofcourse we have.' I began to understand it. ‘Yes,’ said Bill, they'll send a service car that way and within a mile they’ll find us here. ‘ Everything stands or falls with the snow storm and how long that  will blow'.Hij again pulled the cord from the air horn and like a mist horn it sounded, glum but deafening.

San Daniel 2015

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