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5 January, 2003

Visit to F6 Camp

Yesterday the auger team was able to bore four holes through the ice, so our team is ahead of the coring team. In other words, we have many holes cut through the ice and it will take the coring team a few days to core through our holes to obtain their sediment samples. As I am presently part of the auger team, I was able to venture off to nearby F6 camp today to try to recharge my computer, post journal entries, and hook up with another TEA teacher Louise Huffman from Illinois.

F6 is about a 45 minute walk up and over several small hills creating a hummocky terrain, affectionately know as puds (pointless ups and downs). The ground is fine silt covered with pebbles and so when you step, you tend to sink in a bit as if walking along a beach. You must walk carefully so as not to stumble as you would surely crack a knee on a rock if you fell. We are also careful to minimize our impact on the area, so we walk close together to create a small path in the sand and gravel. If we come across a place where someone else has walked, we try to take the same path so as not to disturb other areas.

Jake and I arrived at F6 at about 10:40. The LTER teams doing research on streams were already out for the day doing experiments. So we found ourselves alone at the camp.

Note: The F in F6 stands for Lake Fryxell and they have numbered the streams in Taylor Valley and this camp is set up at stream number 6.

F6 is a building with a kitchen, small lab room, and entry area with room for clothing, gear, and radios. Much more posh than our accommodations. I was parcticularly jealous of their outhouse. Both Jake and I treated ourselves to a stop at the bathroom out of the wind.

Check out the photos below of F6 camp and the surrounding area.

On our way back, Jake and I collected some interesting rocks. We have a permit so I am excited that I will be able to take some rocks from Antarctica home with me to show to others. We also came across a fossilized seal which could be as much as 4000 years old.

The rest of the afternoon was too cold and windy to work. Chris said it is about 10 degrees Celsius colder than usual for this time of year in the Dry Valleys. Each time the coring team brought up the coring equipment, slush on it would freeze up and prevent them from working. But by 7:30pm the wind had died down and so the team set out to try to make up for lost time. But they only made it down to the edge of the lake and realized the wind was in fact still too strong. Everyone headed back to the tent to continue with their card game. I'm quite sure everyone was relieved to have a break from the cold, the wind, and having to endure freezing, wet hands.

Seal fossil in Taylor Valley.

Close up of Seal we found on our hike to F6 camp.

Sean and Jake in our cook tent. The yellow tents cause everything in the tent to be a different color.

Sarah and Aaron hanging out in the cook tent.

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