26 December, 2000
Today is the last full day that I will be at the South Pole. We began the day by seeing Penny off to Mac Town. Shortly after that I went out and collected the last FPH horizontal path data set of the summer season . One thing I won't miss about the FPH's and the SPT is dragging the retro reflector back and forth over the kilometer path. The experience has made me far more appreciative of how strong and healthy the early Antarctic explores were. At about 1 PM a Cat came out to our little corner of the Ice and hooked up to the old SPT building.
It was interesting to see them literally drag the old SPT building away. We will not miss the old building. As you can see from the image it was basically a patch work, having been used by many other research projects. Each of these projects needed different modifications to the building, making it really look worn.
Our new building, which has been called the SPARCLE Palace, is a far cry from the old SPT building. We also have the advantage of being the first research group to use it and we will be the first to have modifications made. I a way it is sad to think that our nice new building will someday probably look like the old SPT shack. With the rails up our Palace looks more like a house boat! More like a "Barge." maybe we can get a few life rings to add to the decor.
Later in the afternoon I was encouraged to "be a tourist"! So I took a walk over to the "Dark Sector" to take a look at their operation. This is where all the money is, and most of the science staff here at Pole. Getting to the "Dark Sector" means that you need to walk across the ski way, as you do everything gets larger.
Once you get to the "Dark Sector" you really can appreciate the scale of the instruments that are being used there. Here is one of the major telescopes that is used. These are radio and other nonviable wavelength telescopes, that are not effected by twenty-four hours of sunlight during the summer.
I feel lucky that I didn't live in the old Wool covered James ways. They are little more than a cloth tent, and they tend to harbor molds and other things that cause allergic reactions for many people. Most of the James Ways are located in "summer camp", a small settlement that is up on a slight rise that looks over the rest of the station.
As I get closer to leaving I am taken by the reality that i have actually been working at the South Pole! I feel very fortunate to have had this opportunity and I also feel very fortunate to have been able to stay in Fred a Hypertat! Fred was quiet and warm, if not some what small.
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