16 January, 2001
The helo lifts from the pad, turning in a 270 degree turn and then heads south over the McMurdo Sound. This is my second time in a helo and I canít keep myself from grinning like a kid. Helo rides are so different than the ride in an airplane. Helo take-offs feel as if you are being lifted gently into the air, not testing the latch of the seat tray that never holds and cracks you in the knees. Not only that you look much cooler with the white flight helmet. One step closer to Top Gun. Move over Goose and let me take the controls. I think if more commercial airlines gave you these helmet to wear during the flight, more people would fly.
The frozen sound appears to be an endless plane of ice stretching to the horizon at which point the black Royal Society Range of mountains rise and break the white monotony. After a 40 minute ride that takes you across the Ross Sound the Royal Society Range looms through the cockpit window. Turning left, we enter Taylor Valley. Out the window on the right side we have a great view of the Canada Glacier. This glacier is squeezing its way over the mountain range. As it pours ever so slowly down the slope, itís frozen mass creates two lakes, Lake Fryxell and Lake Hoare. Without the Canada Glacier, these lakes would be one.
Lake Fryxell is the first lake that we pass and also the site of F6 (see journal 01/12/01). Even at the height of the southern hemispheres summer, these two lakes remain frozen. I am told that moats usually form around the the lakes. Not this year. Our destination is the back side of this glacier, the site of Lake Hoare basecamp.
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