26 October, 1997

26 October 97


CONDITION III for all locations.

REGIONAL WEATHER SUMMARY...Glacial outflow dominates the western Ross ice shelf

as a weak trough over the southern Ross sea continues to fill and move northeast.

TODAY...Partly cloudy, occasionally mostly cloudy.

Visibility: Unrestricted.

Wind (knots): Northeast 10 to 20.

High -13C/+08F. Lowest Wind-chill -36C/-33F

TONIGHT ...Partly cloudy.

Visibility: Unrestricted.

Wind (knots): Northeast 10-20.

Low -15C/+05F Lowest Wind-chill -37C/-35F

MONDAY...Partly cloudy becoming cloudy by late afternoon. Visibility: Unrestricted lowering to 3-5 miles in light snow.

Wind (knots): East to southeast 10-15.

High -12C/+10F Lowest Wind-chill -29C/-21F.


High -14C. Low -17.


Next sunrise in February, 1998

YESTERDAY'S EXTREMES - 25 October, 1997

Maximum Temperature: -07C/+19F

Minimum Temperature: -12C/+10F

Peak Wind: 33 Knots

Lowest wind chill: -32C/-25F

No experiments today. The routine changes a bit on Sunday in McMurdo. Dr. Maxson and I spent the afternoon hiking on the sea ice. There is a flagged trail which leads around Cape Armitage to Pram Point. Scott Base is the New Zealand research station located at Pram Point

The hike came at a very good time for me since I haven't been getting much exercise, and the weather, although very overcast and bad for photos, was generally good. I couldn't help but be overcome by a strong feeling of the rich history associated with the route we were hiking. Out on the ice with no people around, bucking the wind while plodding along, I thought of the numerous occasions Scott's men trudged this same route, often man-hauling sledges of supplies weighing hundreds of pounds.

The perspective as we rounded Cape Armitage allowed us to see Hut Point to our rear, and Scott Base at Pram Point. It was easy to understand the importance of Scott's expedition base at Cape Evans and Hut Point. Just beyond Scott Base was the Ross Ice Shelf (The Great Barrier). The Scott Expedition had to cross several hundred miles of this barrier as part of its long journey to the South Pole. The barrier ice is 500 meters thick in some places and to this day contains the remains of Scott and the others who died with him.

History came alive for me today. I'd let my mind drift with thoughts of historic travel on this very route during the age referred to as the "Heroic Era." The spell dissipated as I watched a C-141 cargo plane take off from the ice and flew away until it disappeared into the clouds. When my thoughts refocused I thought how those heroic men certainly weren't dressed as warmly as I, nor did they eat nearly as well at the end of the day's hike. I almost felt a bit guilty at dinner. We had steamed crab and New York strip steak!

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