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10 December, 2003

Today we reversed what we did almost two months ago in October. We unloaded our huts; science gear went to the Crary Lab for storage, outdoor gear went to the Berg Field Center (BFC) to get cleaned and put away, and leftover food went to the food room to be re-shelved for another group's gastronomic adventures. Each item we took to the BFC was checked against the list we had when we left to make sure that it was been returned. Items in need of repair are pulled aside. Over the winter, workers at the BFC will go through each project's equipment lists and re-stock their storage cages with everything needed for the next field season.

It was another cloudless day with temperatures rising above freezing. After a day spent mostly fussing with gear, it was almost 10pm when I decided it would be a good time for a short cross-country ski tour along the road and track leading to the ice runway. Since there is a fair amount of vehicle traffic along that road, a ski trail is groomed that follows nearby. It was kind of a breezy evening-the flags on the bamboo poles that mark the route were flapping briskly in the wind that came straight out of the south. That meant that you skied out with the wind, felling like a true Nordic hero. Alas, the return trip dashed all my hopes of Nordic stardom as I skated against the wind-it's sort of like trying to swim upstream against a strong current. There are a few good diversions along the way to take your mind off the stiff breeze. The scenery is certainly spectacular, and the breeze is just part of that Antarctic experience. I've often run into elk, mule deer, or porcupines while gliding along on cross country trails at home-but I've never had to stop for an Emperor Penguin!

Daily Haiku:

Antarctic ski tour

Under cloudless and clear skies

Emperor crossing

You can have some interesting skiing companions in Antarctica.

Maybe there should be a 'Penguin Crossing' sign here. The airport runway is visible in the distance.

Just in case you forget where you are......

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