4 November, 1998
Wednesday, November 4, 1998
Hi! This is "Part Two of Happy Camper School." As you all know (if you read yesterday's journal), I didn't get any sleep last night...unless you count the 5 minutes I managed to get at one point. By 5:00 AM I had been shivering for quite awhile and I tossed in the towel, got up (well, how far up can you stand up inside a snow shelter?), and got ALL of the clothes on that I still had left over. I decided to take a hike to warm up.
Brian and I headed down the flagged route toward the "Silver City" hut. The night was a clear one....not many clouds, so we had some neat views of Mt. Erebus as we hiked. The walk did the trick and in no time at all I was warmed up and feeling 100% better. We reached Silver City and went inside to get even warmer. Brian lit the Coleman stove and made some hot cocoa. We put it in our water bottles and then used these on the return hike...we put them inside our parkas to keep us warm! Eventually we even drank it! While sitting in the hut I managed to catch a quick cat nap...maybe a half hour. Hey, I was up to 35 minutes of sleep for the night!
As we approached our camp, we saw others who had gotten up and started their day (or continued their night). At that point it was about 7:00 AM. We helped break camp by shoveling the snow off of the bottom of the Scott tent, taking down the tent, packing up our duffle bags, cooking breakfast (oatmeal, hot cocoa, etc...), and taking down the dome tents. Our group was completely finished with breaking camp by 9:00 AM when a new instructor, Nancy, showed up in the Delta to pick up equipment. We all walked BACK to the Jamesway for more instruction. We sure have done a lot of hiking in the past 24 hours!
Back inside the comfortable warmth of the Jamesway, we could shed some of our layers for a few minutes. Joe and Nancy gave us some instructions on how to use the radio to communicate with other bases when out in the field, and later we went outside to practice. We were unable to contact folks at South Pole Station, but did reach the radio operator at Siple Dome.
The next step in our field training was to practice two "scenarios" that might happen when out in the field. Our large group was divided into two smaller groups for these activities. My first "scenario" was a search and rescue situation. Here was the plot: One of the members of my group had gone out of the Jamesway to use the outhouse and hadn't returned for over a half hour. What would we do as a group to try to find her? They used a member of the group to actually "play" the lost woman, and she actually sat on the ice when we were trying our rescue mission.
To make things "interesting" Nancy gave us WHITE BUCKETS to put over our heads to simulate white-out conditions in Antarctica. So, we had to seach for this lost woman, with buckets on our heads...we needed a PLAN! We could use anything in the Jamesway for our rescue attempt. We chose a piece of rock climbing rope...tied it to something in the Jamesway and then sent out people in our group, spaced every few feet, to make a sweep of the area. This was hard to do without being able to see where we were going...that's why we used the rope! After several attempts, we revised our plan and located the "victim." She was carried into the hut and the scenario was over.
The second situation was the following: We were riding (pretend) in the Delta and it caught on fire. We had to get out quickly, grab anything we could to take with us, and set up tents, establish radio contact, and light our stove before the scenario would be over. The members of our group worked together quickly an efficiently to perform these tasks. Can you imagine if this was a real life situation? Practicing these two different scenarios prepared us for these very real dangers of being in Antarctica.
Soon we packed ourselves into the Delta and began the trek back to McMurdo. I was exhausted, but had such a FANTASTIC time with this whole "Happy Camper" school experience. We arrived back in town at about 3:30 PM...received a patch from our instructors...and headed for warm showers!
I think I blew the two minute shower rule today...it felt good to stand in the warm shower and get clean! Even though I was dead tired, I didn't go to sleep early. The light seems to keep me from sleeping as much here...not uncommon...some of my new friends have the same problem! I spent some time with friends and went to bed around midnight. A LONG day! Talk with you tomorrow!
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