I think I stood in the shower for 45 minutes or however long it took for the hot water to run out of the tank. Other than a quick shower in the Santiago, Chile airport sometime yesterday I had not showered since last year! I love that about mountain climbing! In fact, I have never been happier than I was in Antarctica the past 18 days. To be in a place in the world where so few have ever been and to face daily living that is so out of the ordinary with incredible people from all over the world was, for me, absolutely amazing.

Fifty of us stepped off the C130 on Dec. 30 onto what is referred to as the “blue ice”. This is a three mile strip of ice over 2000 meters thick that has been wind swept smooth where the Russian Ilyushin airplane lands. It takes over 2 miles of sliding before the plane actually comes to a stop. During what feels like being shot out of a gun from inside the belly of this beast, the rear tail is opened and we can see nothing but white and feel the sudden rush of the cold and snow. But my most vivid memory and what I hope never fades from my consciousness was the faces of all fifty of us as we disembarked down a tiny ladder onto the continent of Antarctica. Remember the scene from “The Wizard of Oz” when the movie goes from black and white to color? And Dorothy steps out into Munchkin land? Well that was what it was like for us only a thousand times better. Jaw dropping incredible standing on a frozen ocean of ice as far as the eye could see. No cities, no conveniences, stores, heck no stores period. No cars, no schools, no electricity, no water just an enclave called Patriot Hills where for three months out of the year, when the sun never sets, a little piece of civilization survives.

I have been on five different airplanes since Monday night only arriving back to Boulder late this morning. I will be brief with this update.

But I want to thank all of you who were “climbing” with me through the website. I felt you every step of the way. My sincere thanks to Trish for putting all my blogs on the site, not easy from a satellite phone dispatch and Wendy gasping for air or too excited to form a complete thought but she captured it perfectly. To the Chicks in Glousta, the Colorado gang, trainer Jen and all my friends and family, thank you for your support. I know this climb in particular frightened my family and I am sorry to put them through this but I also know they are with me and now my Mom can sleep tonight.

And to “my kids” at the Donald McKay School in East Boston!!! We did it! Your happy voices over the phone and your amazing questions and spirit guided me all the way. Hope you ate the nine pounds of gummie bears in celebration of our summit!

I’m going to climb into bed with clean sheets and blankets, a thermostat on the wall to control the air temperature and a bathroom with hot and cold water. I’m going to eat fresh vegetables, warm food and drink a glass of water that didn’t have to be boiled from snow. And although I will be comfortable I am going to dream about Antarctica because I miss her already and I feel truly blessed that I was able to bask in her beauty from the top of her highest mountain.

Climb On!


2 Responses to “RE-ENTRY”

  1. 1 Amanda February 26, 2008 at 3:27 am

    I just wanted to congratulate you on your amazing acheivement! I don’t mean summiting , again!, but on having the courage and the grit to go for it. I was so inspired when I spoke to you in Orlando last year and I remain so today. Thank you, just for being the true and indomitable you! I can’t wait to read about your next adventure….

  1. 1 RE-ENTRY Trackback on January 20, 2008 at 9:13 pm

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January 2008
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About Wendy Booker

In June of 1998, this 55 year old mother of three was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS after experiencing balance problems, blurred vision and numbness on her left side. When first diagnosed, Wendy was devastated. But it took very little time for her to transform anguish into inspiration. She immediately turned her hobby of casual running into a continuous pursuit and has now completed nine marathons.

Mountain climbing became the next conquest. Wendy learned about a team of mountain climbers with Multiple Sclerosis who were attempting to climb Mt. McKinley (Denali) in Alaska. With no previous climbing experience, she dedicated a year to hard training and set off with them in 2002. Although weather conditions prohibited the team from completing, Wendy attempted the summit again in 2004 on her own and she succeeded!

The feeling of accomplishment she experienced propelled her next aspiration: to climb the highest mountain on each continent. Just five years later, Wendy Booker has successfully reached the top of six of The Seven Summits – Mt. Kilimanjaro, Mt. McKinley, Mt. Elbrus, Mt. Aconcagua, Mt. Vinson Massif and Mt. Kosciuszko. Mt. Everest, the highest mountain on earth, still awaits for 2010.


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