No Pony Snow-Shoes ... Alas!

Scott and company spent the night of 31 January 1911 - and the morning of 1 February 1911 - at the Depot Laying Expedition's third camp. They were waiting for the return of the team that had been dispatched in haste to retrieve pony snow-shoes from the hut. When the team returned at noon on 1 February they had bad news. The summer climate had driven away the Ross Sea ice that bridged the Barrier to the expedition's winter hut at Ross Island's Cape Evans. They couldn't get back to the hut, they reported, causing Scott to pen what must be one of polar exploration's most ridiculous journal entries: "no pony snow-shoes - alas!" (Journals, p. 114, Carrol & Graf [1996]). Only days earlier Scott had been exclaiming the virtues of the ponies. Now, with them sinking spindly legs into summer's soft surfaces atop the Barrier, Scott could only lament: "How the ponies are to be led is very doubtful." (Journals, p. 114, Carrol & Graf [1996]). The Depot Laying Expedition's last mail went out that day.