So, I am familiar with the Amundsen-Scott rivalry and Amundsen's successful conquest of the South Pole but there seems to be high adventure and intrigue about the conquest of the North Pole too.
Fascinating story this, from this month's Smithsonian magazine.
A century ago, explorer Robert Peary earned fame for discovering the North Pole, but did Frederick Cook get there first?
On September 7, 1909, readers of the New York Times awakened to a stunning front-page headline: "Peary Discovers the North Pole After Eight Trials in 23 Years." The North Pole was one of the last remaining laurels of earthly exploration, a prize for which countless explorers from many nations had suffered and died for 300 years. And here was the American explorer Robert E. Peary sending word from Indian Harbour, Labrador, that he had reached the pole in April 1909, one hundred years ago this month. The Times story alone would have been astounding. But it wasn't alone.
A week earlier, the New York Herald had printed its own front-page headline: "The North Pole is Discovered by Dr. Frederick A. Cook." Cook, an American explorer who had seemingly returned from the dead after more than a year in the Arctic, claimed to have reached the pole in April 1908—a full year before Peary.
I think some day I should go read another such book - this one perhaps, The Story of Polar Conquest by Logan Marshall. (Indeed - no physical activity for this geek -- reading about such adventures is all I can indulge in! ;) But hey... at least I don't drive an Explorer ;) I remember this from Paul Reiser's book, Babyhood:
“Suddenly you understand those behemoth station wagons your parents had. But because we [baby boomers] are, as a group, so very much more clever, we now surround ourselves instead in hulking tanks - uglier by far than anything we sat in the back of when we were 5. But this time they have much cooler names. Names reeking of adventure: Explorer, Expedition, Outback, Range Rover, Land Cruiser, Four Runner, Trooper, Pathfinder... Where do we think we’re going? We’re picking up diapers and dropping off a video. We’re not bagging a cheetah and lugging it across Kenya.”I love those lines and always remember them - especially the "We’re picking up diapers and dropping off a video" part! :)
And so, for more vicarious living, I share with you these two videos of high-adrenaline rush activities.
And so it goes...