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28 December, 2000

Penguins! I can't believe my luck! I actually saw 26 Adelie Penguins from the window of the Crary Lab computer room. They were walking across the sea ice from Hut Point toward Scott Base. I took a couple of pictures with my digital camera, but all they look like is small black dots. In the Crary Lab there is a spotting scope and boy what a sight! I wish that I had had my 300 mm zoom camera with me. They might have looked like bigger black dots on the ice. Is it possible that my trip is complete? I have seen the elusive Penguin. I can now face my son's first grade class with my head held high. I have seen "free range penguins". I guess I am now ready to go home.

Scott's 1902 Discovery Hut! What a wonderful piece of history. I have read many accounts of how this hut played a major role in both Scott's and Shackelton's legendary journeys.

At about 9 AM I went over to the NSF "Chalet" and asked if I could have the key to the Discovery Hut. I was asked to read several documents about the preservation efforts and noticed that visitation is limited to no more than 2000 people each year. I feel very fortunate to be able to walk in the foot steps of such great explorers. The hut is pretty much they way it was left when it was last used. There is even, what looks like, bacon still in a pan on the stove.

The assortment of packing cases and tins of food is remarkable. I felt like I was walking into the past. It was actually sort of eerie walking in the cold and gloomy interior.

It was not only tins of food that could be found. Also hanging in a small room were what appeared to be the remains of so unfortunate beast. My thought was, was this dinner or a specimen collected and forgotten? The skulls on the bench didn't make the hut any less eerie either.

The hut will leave a lasting impression on me. Like this broom that swept away the scoria and dust during the time of Scott, Antarctica will eventually sweep away all the traces that we have put upon her.

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