22 November, 2001
Thanksgiving in Antarctica:
Dr. Bowser, Dr. Alexander, Phil Forte, and I flew by helicopter to Lake Hoare. While it only took us about 10 minutes to fly up the valley, it took Dr. Pawlowski and Dr. Korsun about 7 hours to walk there. It was a beautiful day and the view of Lake Hoare from the helicopter was spectacular. The blue sea ice, the massive Canada Glacier, and towering mountain was a perfect setting for their field camp. Their camp was set up differently from ours at Explorers Cove. They had a two- room building: one large kitchen area with long tables, and one room with two bunk beds, tables, and computers. They also had two "rocket" commodes out back along with an outhouse. The rocket commodes use fuel to burn human waste. Most of the occupants slept in individual tents near the glacier. This camp can accommodate 15 people. Solar panels were in place to provide power to the camp. Twenty people came to celebrate Thanksgiving including the two pilots and others from McMurdo and Lake Fryxell. It was wonderful to hear about their projects in Antarctica. One group of scientists with the LTER (Long Term Environmental Research) project were taking hydrology measurements at Lake Hoare, Lake Bonney, and Lake Fryxell. These three lakes with surrounding glaciers follow each other down the valley. Some people showed up in unusual hats or wigs to provide a little amusement. Thanksgiving away from loved ones at home can be a little hard, so laughter helps keep people in the moment. Without a doubt, our families were missed and in our thoughts. By keeping in the moment, we could also find joy in spending time with interesting people. I was excited to see some people that I had met in snow school and on the plane coming to Antarctica, as well as Tim, our Eagle Scout. I left with a memory of spending time with a group of very special people. I'll never forget this Thanksgiving in Antarctica.
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