A Shackleton Reaches the South Pole

Cmdr. Shackleton said one of his first thoughts was a favorite quote of his from Sir Ernest: "I seemed to vow to myself that some day I would go to the region of ice and snow and go on and on till I came to one of the poles of the earth, the end of the axis upon which this great round ball turns."

Cmdr. Shackleton said "the phrase went through my ears, and you can't really shed a tear at the pole because it freezes before it leaves your eye, but believe me, my stomach was tight as a drum."

"I really felt the emotions of what it's like to be there, and what those guys went through that made it there on sleds back in the turn of the century."

Family, Friends Cheered on Cmdr. Shackleton Through Facebook

In anticipation of his visit to the Pole his wife had set up a Facebook page to update the many family and friends who had heard about his opportunity. Shackleton said interest in his trip has "spread like a wave" among the Shackleton family and even helped his family reconnect with direct descendants of Sir Ernest.

Cmdr. Shackleton hadn't spoken to his family since his return to McMurdo Station. He is now preparing for another epic journey -- his return home to the San Francisco area. In sharp contrast to the years-long exploits of Sir Ernest, he will face the challenges of modern air travel: he'll have to make connecting flights to New Zealand, Australia and California that will have him airborne for almost a full day.

Then, he'll return to his day job as an Assistant Dean at the School of Engineering at The University of California at Berkeley.

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