Magee shares South Pole tale
Published 3:00 am Thursday, March 24, 2016
Tim Magee went to the jumping off place. And, that’s not a place that many ever go or desire to go.
But for Magee, Puta Arenas, Chile, was the jumping off place to the Geographic South Pole and that’s exactly where he wanted to go.
Magee was the program guest of Rotarian Chip Wallace at the Wednesday meeting of the Brundidge Rotary Club.
Rotarians and guests packed the meeting room of the Wagon Wheel in Brundidge to hear about Magee’s adventure to the South Pole. Some of them had enjoyed a virtual tour of the North Pole with Magee at an earlier Rotary meeting and were anxious to hear about his journey south, to the “most magnificent desolated place” on the planet.
While in Puta Arenas, Magee participated in a tradition that is believed to bring good luck to those who kiss the toe of the statue of Magellan.
With that done and that bit of luck in his favor, Magee awaited his flight to the base camp on the Antarctica. “Everything down there is weather dependent,” he said. “We had been told not to make any plans for at least 30 days following our return date. There was no guarantee when we might be able to return to Chile.”
That was just part of the challenge for modern day polar explorers.
When Magee and his group were given the green light for the South Pole, he said a flood of excitement washed over him. The long flight to the South Pole resulted in a landing on blue ice. “The runway was lined with black garbage bags filled with snow and flashing mirrors guided the plane to its landing,” Magee said. “As we walked to the base camp, the Patriot Hills were in the distance. They were called hills but they were really mountains. The sun was bright and hot but it was 10 below zero.”
The adventurers were assigned to two-man tents that warmed to 30 degrees.
“At 30 degrees, you would think you were in a freezer but, with all your clothing, it was actually warm inside the tents. The sleeping bags were designed for up to 100 degrees below.” Magee said. “The tents had to be kept closed at all times to keep the snow from blowing inside. The wind could get up to 90 miles per hour.”
For the group to make the 600-plus mile flight to the Geographic South Pole, three things had to line up.
“We had to wait,” Magee said. As he waited at the base camp, Magee surveyed that “fantastic and amazing place.” “There was nothing but desolation,” he said. “The entire environment was pristine. I was amazed that snow didn’t cover everything. Nothing there ever melts so everything eventually gets covered up.”
At the South Pole, Magee said 28 below is a blistering beach day.
When Magee’s group was given the green light for take off to the Geographic South Pole, he could hardly contain his excitement.
At takeoff, the plane to the Geographic South Pole soared to a height of 60 feet and the n climbed higher but not nearly as high as Magee’s spirits.
When Magee arrived at the pole, he took advantage of his six hours by soaking up and basking in his surroundings. The Geographic South Pole was designated by a stainless steel “pole.” But, for Magee, it was the realization of dream, of a desire, to travel to “the poles.” “To stand at the top of the world … and at the bottom, it was an unforgettable experience,” he said.
Magee had spent five weeks getting to the South Pole and he spent six hour at the pole.
He has hundreds of photographs of his polar experiences but they don’t compare to the thrill he experiences at the memory of those excursions.
Magee has traveled the world over. He has experienced 47 states, all seven continents and 35 countries. That’s quite a feat for boy from rural northeast Iowa.
But Magee always comes back home. He’s a Troy boy at heart.