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30 November, 2004

Observation Hill

Temperature: 19*F

Location: McMurdo Station

Today I had to say goodbye to all my teammates. Peter was the first to go; he caught a morning C-130 back to Christchurch. Jackie and Brandy caught an afternoon B212 helicopter back to Lake Hoare. It was sad to see them all leave. I enjoyed working with each of them and respect their earnest efforts to understand the ecosystem of Lake Hoare.

Before Jackie and Brandy headed back to the Dry Valleys, however, Brandy and I hiked up Observation Hill. This is a fairly steep hill just beside McMurdo Station. From the top, one can see a 360* view of the region. Mt. Erebus towered boldly above the surrounding peaks. Its summit was hidden in the classic dome shaped clouds which indicate high winds aloft. Scott Base lay nestled within the protection of surrounding coves, while McMurdo lay sprawled out below the hill. In the distance, we could see the trapped ice bergs struggling to free themselves from the sounds icy grip. It was a beautiful hike.

After our hike, we went and found the “Geo /Travel Bug” that I had put on the Crary Lab bridge troll last year. Miss Adams, back in NH, was curious what the GPS coordinates were, so we took a GPS with us and logged the location. The troll looked a bit hungry as he nibbled on the Geo Bug!

1) Looking up Observation Hill.

2) The volcanic rock of "Ob Hill" and McMurdo Sound in the background.

3) Looking down on McMurdo from atop Observation Hill.

4) Brandy and me at the cross for Robert Scott's team.

5) The inscription on Scott's cross: "To Strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

6) Brandy searches for Robert Scott in McMurdo Sound!

7) The McMurdo bridge troll with the Geo/Travel bug!

8) The GPS coordinates for the Geo/Travel bug!

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