27 November, 1997
Thanksgiving day in Antarctica, one I will never forget. Awoke at the small Lake Fryxell tent and looked out. OH NO - light snow, heavy clouds, I knew right away it would be a helocopter no fly day. Went to the hut, checked with McMurdo and it was confirmed, nothing moving. Now what. We had an 8:30 pick up and were ready. Do we wait for possible clearing? That did not look like it was going to happen. We could stay at the Lake Fryxell hut and eat canned turkey for dinner. That did not sound good either. The three young people said "lets hike back to Lake Hoare". I knew it was a 15 minute helo ride, they said it was only about an hour and a half on foot. I quickly calculated that a person can walk about 4
miles per hour. After asking how far away it was and they said about 6 miles I knew I was in trouble. What are we going to do with all our stuff I asked. Guess what "Back Pack". Not a chance could I get all my personal gear, science equipment, and sleeping bag in my pack. Leave the science equipment until beter weather,and pack only esential material. I took my sleeping gear and toothbrush and that totally filled the pack. I would not have believed that y ou could get my sleeping bag into my pack but with everyone stuffing, we did it. We took the ATV as far a possible and hit the trail about 11:00. I really wondered if I could do it. My pack was at least 40 lbs. and those 7.7 lb. bunny boots. At 12:00 we were still going uphill so that ment we were not half way yet. I was hot. I knew not to sweat and get wet. I shed a couple of jackets and my stocking hat. Since most body heat radiates from your head and my head is a good radiant surface, I coolded down right away. Then I thought, is my head going to get sunburnt with the ozone hole over me? Made a quick decision to take a chance on skin cancer and stay comfortable now. I stopped for a rest and ate a candy bar and sorta got my legs back. About a half hour later, hit the down slope but not much easier. The rocks were baseball size and many were loose in the permafrost. Made it down about 1:30. Even Kathy beat me by 5 minutes. I thought I could outwalk her but I was incorrect. She never stopped the whole way, don't know how she did it. The Lake Hoare camp spotted us and sent their ATV to carry the back packs the last half mile. I made it Monte people. Recovered a little, made up my tent and came to the cabin and sat down to a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner. Paula, the camp manager, had done herself prowd with a 19 lb. turkey and all the fixings. After a fine Holiday meal in which everyone helped, luckly they have learned to put me on the clean up crew, we had a great Thanksgiving. One I will never forget. First time I have ever had turkey gravey from a coffee pot. My only hope is that I can get out of the sleeping bag in the morning. I'm OK everyone, doing fine. See ya
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