The First Woman to Ski Solo Across the Southern Ice
Foreword by Joanna Lumley
Felicity Aston, UK native, adventurer, explorer, has always appeared to be in search of the unknown or the unreachable. As a child, an early snowfall covering the woodland near her home became an explorer’s dream as she and her sister would experience excitement and exhilaration as they allowed their imaginations to realize the jewels within that white world. Felicity continued with this adventurous spirit, choosing challenges in her adult life that were usually fraught with the unexpected. This book describes the terrifying pinnacle she reached for and, eventually, conquered.
One thousand seven hundred kilometers was the initial terrifying, thrilling thought that entered the mind of Ms. Aston as she prepped for this risk-filled journey across Antarctica. That thought alone was daunting without all the ensuing fears associated with this perilous task: falling into a huge crack buried under the snow; skiing in complete whiteness; losing her equipment; the heaviness of silence, which turned out to be the most devastating reaction. Felicity never fell into an unseen crack, but many other challenges caused her to examine the life choices that brought her to this solitary, treacherous state of being. Introspective thinking became the name of the game, repeatedly, until she thought she was releasing all sense of stability, sanity. It was strength of family (particularly thoughts from her mother), persistence in following all the routine behaviors that were a part of the intense training that preceded the trek and a spiritual association with the sun that kept her from falling over the edge. Tears, nausea from fear prevailed throughout the days that became months, before the goal was sighted. Elation such as Felicity had never before experienced overwhelmed her in addition to the pricy sweet smell of success in becoming the first woman to complete this task alone.
This book is easily devoured but you are never without deeply-rooted feelings of terror and anticipation at the turn of every page. The urge to snatch her off that continent becomes obsessive, relating to the fact that it could be your offspring in that tent, on those skis, marching blindly into the wind. However, this test of survival, determination, perseverance enabled Felicity to understand that as important as ‘alone time’ can be, in order to truly live one must have a connection that only human relationships can provide. Without this, there is no substance to one’s existence. Perhaps Antarctica was not a complete whiteout, after all!