My harness has arrived!

This harness was sent so that I could use it to train pulling tires, and eventually the pulk sled across the snow in Norway.

This harness has good juju. I’m lucky and honored to have it.

This harness smells like a combination of gas and earth. It has mud splashed across one side.

My curiosity is so piqued about the smell. What adventure of Ann Daniel’s caused this harness to smell so strongly the way it does? Where is this mud from?

My mom’s dear friend Ann Daniels shipped this harness to me from England, where she lives.

This harness has stories to tell.

Note from Ann Daniels accompanying her harness

Ann Daniels is a legend in polar exploration and arctic adventures. She is the quintessential female badass.

She is the first woman in history, along with expedition teammate Caroline Hamilton, to reach the North and South Poles as part of all-women teams in 2002. She has been to the North Pole six times.

Pen Hadow refers to Ann Daniels as “the best woman explorer in the world.”

My new harness was used in Ann’s expedition of the Caitlin Arctic Surveys.

This was a three-year-long scientific expedition along a lengthy transect of the Arctic Ocean.

This harness has seen miles upon miles of pulk sled pulling all over the Arctic.

And, I am fortunate enough to have it!

How did this happen?

My mom, Ginny.

My mom is a polar explorer herself. She has also skied to the North and South Poles, and did so in the same year.

My mom meets unique people like Ann Daniels because she is attracted to unique challenges and people are attracted to my wonderful mom. She is a magnet to interesting people.

Ann and Ginny first met in the back of an odd rig truck in Punta Arenas, Chile, on my mom’s first attempt cross-country skiing to the South Pole in November, 1999. Their ski gear was jointly loaded in the back of this truck, and they struck up a conversation that kick-started a long-standing friendship and shared passion of arctic exploration, conservation, and climate change passion.

Unfortunately, my mom’s trip was aborted for after three weeks in Punta because the weather in Antarctica never cleared enough for the flight over to the mountain camp. Waiting out the weather, my mom, Ann and friends spent those three weeks drinking Chilean beer.

My mom finally succeeded in her Antartica expedition and trip to the South Pole the following year.

Earlier in 2000, my mom also reached the North Pole with Pen Hadow. They spent 12 treacherous days skiing the last 100 nautical miles, also called the last degree, to the North Pole from Siberia.

The badass women’s club absolutely includes my mom.

During my recent February trip to Norway, I had the good fortune to meet the famed Norwegian female polar explorer, Liv Arnesen (pronounced “Leave”). Liv and Ann Bancroft are the first women to ski across Antarctica’s landmass. That took 94 days.

Liv was part of an all-female team that skied across Greenland in 1992. In 1994, she made international headlines becoming the first woman in the world to ski solo and unsupported to the South pole. This took 50 days of grueling work, all alone.

When I met Liv, she told me, “Do your trek in a pristine way.” She said, “This adventure will be stored with you for a lifetime.” Liv shared how she “draws on her 50 days alone” to get her through life now.

Why do I mention these women?

Punta Arenas, November 1999
Left to right: Ann Daniels, Zoe Hudson, Rosie Stancer, Caroline Hamilton, Pom Oliver and my mom in the blue vest

These are the women who came before me.

I am not tackling nearly the same level of challenge as Ann, Liv, and my mom, but, I view them as a source of inspiration for my trek across Norway for PKU.

These women did not succumb to fear.

They persevered through the toughest environmental conditions on the planet.

They accomplished feats no one had accomplished before.

These are tough, gritty, trailblazing women. They remind us to stretch beyond our comfort zone, find adventure and reach for our dreams.

So, as I look at my harness, I am reminded of its history and its stories. I am reminded of the women who came before me, and of why I am tackling Norway.

Our dream is a cure for PKU. This harness, with good juju, is going to help us get there.