4 December, 2003
Skiing the Cape Armitage Loop and American Night at Scott Base
Things have sort of slowed down as our trip to the labyrinths has been postponed to January and we are almost done with initial processing of the samples collected in Taylor Valley. Some members of our team are fighting the "McMurdo Crud", a horrible cold that gets passed around the base. With all the new people constantly entering the continent, germs and colds are easily spread. I'm glad I have had my flu shot and make a point to take my vitamins each day. Why do you think that people who winter over rarely get sick after a month or so of the station's closing?
While the members of my team were resting, relaxing, or working on grants, I had the opportunity to parcticipate in another new first- skiing! Thanks to the encouragement of Barb, I checked out a set of ski equipment (skis, boots, and poles) and headed out for my first cross-country skiing lesson. We filed our ski plan with the firehouse, were handed a radio, and took a shuttle over to Scott Base. From there we skied the Cape Armitage Loop back to McMurdo. Surprisingly I caught on very quickly and was gliding on the sea ice in no time. Perhaps it was just beginners luck. Even though it wasn't a clear day, the view s of Black Island, Cape Armitage, and Mt. Erebus were incredible. The crisp air, isolation, and total silence were refreshing after being "cooped up" in town and really gave you a sense of being in Antarctica. It was great fun and I hope to be able to do other trails before I leave.
Later in the evening we took the shuttle back to Scott Base for "American Night". Every Thursday New Zeeland's Scott base opens its door to its American neighbors. We are allowed to shop at their gift shop, tour part of the station, and mingle with the Kiwis in their main lounge. Their station's compact green buildings are a nice change from the "mining town" feel of McMurdo.
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