The Last Place on Earth

February 28, 2010

delaware county, indiana

i have a big crush on roald amundsun. i guess you could say i have a thing for rogue polar explorers from the late 19th, early 20th century; especially if they are of scandinavian decent.  i’ve just finished watching a series from masterpiece theatre; the last place on earth, made in 1985 (available on dvd through netflix). it’s based on the book by roland huntford by the same title. it tells the story of amundsun and robert falcon scott‘s antarctic expeditions as they race to be the first to reach the south pole (circa 1911).

 as scott and amundsun race to the pole,  their story unfolds into a tale of adventure and misfortune.  amundsun and his team of 3 men plus their invaluable dogs and skiis did it with superhuman strength and will. scott (who was an officer in the british navy) with his team of military men and scientists, siberian ponies, mechincal sleds, giant ego and arrogance, perished on the ice barrier with the 4 men who went with him to the pole. reaching the pole a month after amundsun,  scott’s expedition was miserable and was a series of one disaster after another.

in the end, amundsun is made to be the bad guy and scott is hailed as a hero. amundsun is portrayed as a simpleton by the british and humiliated to the point that he flees england during a lecture/book tour, calling the british  ‘ignorant’. he goes to america continuing to work toward repaying his debts and to raise funds to finish his work in the north. while there, he visits an old friend and fellow arctic explorer frederick cook.  cook is behind bars for some kind of fraud\ scandle involing texas oil.  he brings his good friend a book;  scott’s last journey.

that is my kind of man.

 i was born in the wrong century!



just a note about the photo published in this post:

 i first published this photo titled  sunset silhouette in the winter of 2009.  it has proved to be the most popular photo on the blog according to my stats. i took this when the temperature had dipped below zero. in subzero temps, colors appear much more vivid.

all i got to do is to love you
all i got to be is, be happy
all it’s got to take is some warmth to make it
blow away, blow away, blow away.   ~ george harrison


7 Responses to “The Last Place on Earth”

  1. Jomegat Says:

    I’ve been reading the book “True North” which chronicles Cook’s arctic adventures and his competition with Robert Peary. I haven’t gotten to the part yet where the author claims Cook made it to the North Pole before Peary, but it’s pretty clear he thinks Cook is the bee’s knees, while Peary is… a royal jerk. If you’re interested in that sort of thing, you might want to read this book. I’ve also been a huge fan of Earnest Shackleton. There are some great biographies of his adventures too.

    • julayne Says:

      thank you so much for the thoughtful comment. i have been interested in arctic exploration since i first read huntford’s ‘the last place on earth’ 20 years ago. cook and peary’s controversial claims as to who reached the north pole first are hinted at in this story. i have respect for all of the great exploreres of that time, including scott. i guess i just prefer amundsun’s style and approach over scott’s.
      thank you for the recommendations, i will check them out.

  2. Heyy, Found your blog on Yahoo and I will definatley be recommending and coming back to the site! =)

  3. poietes Says:

    Lovely photograph. I have always been intrigued by the differing tales about the Arctic exploration regarding who arrived first, and whose expedition was better. No modern technology to record things down to the nano-second, so everyone has to rely on first-hand and second-hand accounts.

    • julayne Says:

      hi there,
      thank you. i agree the stories about the early arctic explorers are fascinating. this story in particular has always stuck with me. also, as you mentioned, the fact they did it without the technology we are so used to in our modern times astounds me. i really think they were super-human!

  4. Wapello Warbler Says:

    You might also enjoy Alone! an autobiographical account of Richard Byrd’s stay through the Antartic winter.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: