23 November, 2003
Traveling to the Dry Valleys
Today we flew by helicopter to our field site in the dry valleys. Since this was my first helicopter ride, I must admit I was a little nervous. So many things to remember: stay away from the tail, make sure you know how to buckle the seat belt (they even had us practice doing this in Happy camper school), make sure you zip your helmet in a zipper bag and make sure to secure it tightly with a seat belt before exiting the aircraft. The valleys are one of the most interesting places on Earth. Looking much like a Martian landscape, Antarctica’s dry valleys were formed when the land uplifted at a faster rate than the glaciers could cut through them. Eventually the high necks at the head of each valley stopped the glaciers. The valley's huge, brown mountains, mammoth glaciers and frozen lakes are truly amazing and the view from the helicopter was incredible. My team was even nice enough to allow me to sit in one of the window seats that faced forward, which allowed me to watch the transition as we left Ross Island and headed towards the valleys.
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