If you'd become the first woman to ski across Antarctica alone, what's the first thing you'd want on completion of your 59-day, 1,055-mile journey?
A glass of red wine and a hot shower sounded fine to British explorer Felicity Aston, who accomplished the feat Sunday.
Sitting in my tent in the middle of Hercules Inlet waiting for a plane to come and pick me up. I've been promised red wine and a hot shower—
(@felicity_aston) January 23, 2012
Aston, 33, was waiting Monday morning atÂ Hercules Inlet, Antarctica, after one last night in the tent that that had protected her from the continent's harsh elements since she began her trek on November 25.
Woken to the wonderful realization that I don't have to jump out of my sleeping bag and rush over the horizon today.—
(@felicity_aston) January 23, 2012
Bad weather had prevented her pickup by a Hercules C-130 plane on Sunday, but Monday was "a lovely day," she tweeted. She said she was making weather reports every hour to clear the way for the plane to come.
Aston's trek took her from the Ross Ice Shelf across the Transantarctic Mountains to the South Pole to her destination on the Ronne Ice Shelf on the opposite coast of the continent. She had only one day of rest during her journey, at the pole itself.
â€œI cannot express how happy I am to have finally made it!," she said of when she completed the journey, according to her sponsor, Kaspersky Lab.
!!!Felicity has reached her destination-Hercules Inlet-after 59days !!!Congratulations to the 1st female to traverse Antarctica SOLO.V proud—
(@felicity_aston) January 22, 2012
"The Kaspersky ONE Transantarctic Expedition represents a culmination of everything I experienced and learned before on other challenging journeys. I prepared for it physically and mentally for a very long time. And finally here I am having reached my final destination, having got through some rather severe conditions, but most importantly of all having overcome my own fear," Aston said in the release.
Kaspersky Lab is Europe's largest producer of antivirus software.
Aston's tweets from her journey show she endured conditions from whiteouts to baking-hot sunshine.
Spent the morning stumbling around in a whiteout and the afternoon stripping down to my thermals in the fiercely hot sun!—
(@felicity_aston) January 20, 2012
Among the hardships she endured during her trips: losing a toenail, temperatures approaching -40 degrees Celsius, ripped clothing (She tweeted she had some sewing to do. How does one work a needle and thread at 40 below?), laundry problems ("Tried to do some laundry in the tent this evening. Didn't go well. I now have frozen knickers," she tweeted on December 6), loneliness ("Yesterday was the first day I didnt burst into tears at any point," she tweeted 16 days in), and a personal transformation of sorts.
Stripped off to have a proper wash and got a shock. My body shape has changed completely and I've lost a lot of weight.—
(@felicity_aston) January 08, 2012
That weight loss came even though she was consuming about 5,000 calories a day.
Her supplies were replenished by air twice during the trip.
But with the hardships, her awe and appreciation of Antarctica always came through.
Happy Christmas from Antarctica! I think I win the contest for 'whitest christmas' hands down!—
(@felicity_aston) December 25, 2011
And later in the trip:
The sun was circled by sundogs and multicoloured haloes this afternoon. I couldn't take my eyes off it.—
(@felicity_aston) December 31, 2011
And on January 9:
Such a still and sunny evening that I have sat with the tent door open enjoying the wonderful warmth of the sun as I melt snow on the stove.—
(@felicity_aston) January 10, 2012
Aston used her trip to raise money for the British Antarctic Monument Trust. The trust wants to build a monument in the Falkland Islands "to commemorate those killed in Antarctica while in pursuit of science," according to her page on JustGiving.com. She'd reached 57% of her goal of 1,700 British pounds ($2,650) on Monday.
Aston's Antarctic journey was the latest in 10 years of adventures.
According to her website, she has "raced in the Canadian Arctic, led a team of women across the inland ice of Greenland, led a record-making international team to the South Pole, searched for meteorite craters in Quebec, skied along a frozen river in Siberia, traversed the winter ice of Lake Baikal, completed the infamous Marathon Des Sables across the Moroccan Sahara and spent three years living and working in the Antarctic."
No word Monday on what's next.