19 November, 1997
You would never believe what a few hours in a sleeping bag on the snow can do to revive you. I really did awake ready to go back to work. I also had to go to another place,the out house. That was not so fun. Our bathroom spot was at least 40 yds from the camp and remember that I told you that a roaring wind arose during the night. Not fun to get there and since I'm an early riser and was the first one up, I got to shovel the snow out of the toilet. Pretty tough to sit down in there. Luckly I did not have to get up in the middle of the night. Remember there is no darkness here. It is tough to get used to. There is continous sunlight, the sun just makes a little circle in the sky. After the toilet shoveling I then decided to get the camp stove running and the water hot. Boy did the coffee and coca and dehydrated oat meal taste good. I had forgotten to put my water bottle into the sleeping bag and it was frozen sold. Took quite a while to thaw the thing out. Water is very important here, there is approximately 3% humidity and we had sweat a lot working yesterday. I honestly have been bothered by the heat more than the cold. Our gear is tremendous and they told us to bring everything that we had to sort of test out. I had everything I had on and every time I moved I was too hot. We learned to shed clothes all the time and as soon as we quit then grab your parka. After breakfast we had to dismattle the camp and at 9:00 our instructors returned and took us to a small little warming shed where we discussed the events of yesterday. We went over all the planning, things we could have done, things we should have done and how to do them better. Our group will scatter all over the continent so not everything is applicable to everyone. Another fine meal of dehydrated food and then back to Mcmurdo or so we thought. As we were comming in, the snow cat stopped and the instructons told us that an emergency situation was developing and that we had 20 minutes to get a tent up, wind wall constructed and stove lit. It was a test of course and our group made it. I told you that those Navy fliers were great. We also had to set up energency radio communication with Mcmurdo and call in. Worked out well. I'm ready for the Dry Valleys and feel well prepared. I can do this. If everything goes OK and we get helocopter clearance we should leave for the valleys on Friday. They were not sure if there was any stream flow for me to measure yet though. Things going well, I'm fine, heading for a warm room and bed.
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