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孤独之旅——世界上第一位单身滑雪穿越南极的女性

更新时间:2012-10-16    来源/发布:www.en369.cn    作者/编辑:英语作文网

(CNN) -- When Felicity Aston started smelling fish and chips, she knew something was wrong.

The unmistakable aroma of the classic British pub food, deep-fried fish and french fries, could only mean one thing: She must be hallucinating. After all, there are no pubs in the middle of Antarctica.

The British explorer was skiing solo across the great frozen continent and had not seen another human being for weeks.

"It drove me insane," said Aston. "It was like I was skiing along a huge row of fish and chips shops, the whole day."

Read more: Global warming hits Antarctica, study finds

I realized I would go a whole day and really not think about anything at all. My head was completely empty.

Felicity AstonBut, she says, she kept wiggling her fingers and toes to check for hypothermia, gritted her teeth and kept going, eventually crossing Antarctica in 59 days -- becoming the first woman in the world to make it solo.

Despite being a seasoned explorer -- she previously led a team to the South Pole; raced across Arctic Canada and traversed the inland ice of Greenland -- this was her first solo expedition. She says she has never felt so alone.

"The first time it really struck me was when the plane dropped me off (at) the beginning of my journey, and I watched it disappearing into a dark blob (in) the sky."

As she started putting up her tent and organizing her equipment, she says she realized her heart was jumping, she was out of breath and her hands were shaking.

Read more: Ship spends 10th day stuck in frozen waters off Antarctica

"I realized I was absolutely petrified," she said. "And it wasn't because I (was) scared of dying or injury, it was just that level of aloneness that was instantly frightening. Just the weight of the amount of time on my own."

Being alone in the Antarctic means being on a high alert all the time. There is a danger at every step: Crevasse fields; whiteouts; sharp-edged grooves and ridges; temperatures below -40 C and hurricane-speed winds.

Among the many physical impacts this environment has on the body -- exhaustion, malnutrition, frostbite, cramps, sunburn -- one of the most serious is hypothermia.

Among polar explorers, hypothermia is known as "the silent killer" because its first symptom is a progressive inability to think clearly, recognize the problem and do something about it. "The first warning signal of hypothermia is abnormal behavior -- being very quiet, confused, incoherent," Aston explained.

Every single morning, the first thing that struck me was, 'Oh my goodness, I can't do this, I don't want to be here, I've made a terrible mistake.'

Felicity Aston These are things that other members of an expedition pick up on, but, in a team of one, there's no one else to raise the red flag.

Read more: Patient from Antarctica flown to New Zealand for treatment

"If you're alone, you have to make sure that if something goes wrong, you can get out of it," she said. "I had to always make sure that I would be able to put up a tent and look after myself at the end of each day." That's why she constantly wiggled her fingers, to make sure they weren't becoming numb, as the inability to use her hands would have been fatal.

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