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19 November, 2003

"On the road again...."

Temperature: 18*F

Location: Lake Fryxell, Dry Valleys

Today was pack up and move day. Everything at Fryxell camp had to be broken down, packed up and set out on the helo pad. With a little bit of a frenzy, we managed to load everything into the helicopter.

We flew back over the Canada Glacier, over Lake Hoare and Lake Chad, and onto the edge of Lake Bonney. This is our final field destination other than day trips to some of the other valleys. We will be here for about five days.

As usual, we dropped our bags "at the door" and got right to work. The first order of business was to determine lake level of the eastern lobe of Lake Bonney. The lake is s;lit into two lobes; we will determinelake level of the western lobe in the next few days.

Determining lake level requires drilling a hole, so we got the jiffy drill going again. The ice on this lake is slightly shallower, so we had a slightly easier time drilling; although depth isn't really the important factor, but rather how many layers of wind blown sediment are hit while drilling!

We also went and drilled a four meter hole by a monitoring station so it is ready for the hot finger to be deployed. There is another research group here at Lake Bonney, so resources are a bit tight. Careful scheduling and reserving the use of the generators, trombones, hot fingers, and hotsy's will be imperative. Having to wait for another group to finish working on something is a progress stopper. We don't want to delay our progress, so Peter is carefully designing a "plan of attack" for the next several days.

As I sit and look at the magnificent landscape around me, I am reminded of Robert Falcon Scott's famous saying while viewing the Dry Valleys: "This certainly is the Valley of the Dead, even the great glacier that created it has withered away." The valley certainly seems barren, but now that we know what to look for, we are finding many kinds of organisms; in fact the area is riddled with life just trying to make a stand!

1. Flying towards Lake Bonney.

2. View of Lake Bonney and the mountains in the background; check out the banding in the mountains!

3. The west lobe of Lake Bonney.

4. "Blood Falls" at the base of the Taylor Glacier.

5. View from Lake Bonney.

6. Drilling

7. More mountains at Lake Bonney!

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