29 November, 1996
Today was Thanksgiving Day back home. Bill, Chuck, Jenni, and I helicoptered to the mainland to look for glacial melt water pools. These small fresh water ponds will hopefully yield blue-green algae mats that grow in the water film under the ice as the weather warms. There are a number of different species of this type of algae competing for the limited resources in the pools. Bill feels those that have successfully formed colonies might have unique chemistry. Over the next month I will travel to pools in different locations to collect and assay alga mats to determine if they contain cytotoxic compounds.
When we go into the field we wear our cold weather gear plus carry the science equipment we will need in backpacks. When I was weighed with my pack prior to getting on the helicopter I was 215 pounds, my normal body weight is 160 pounds. Since I'm older than Bill, he always lets me carry the extra gear in my pack.
Our plan was to sample about a dozen different pools. We would hike to a high point to look for collecting sites, take a compass bearing so we could return to the site if needed, and then hike to it. The ice at most of the pools was so thick we couldn't get to the alga mats even by chopping with our axes. We'll have to devote another day to collecting from this site. That suits me, I'd like to spend more time here, but I'm anticipating a long hard day of hiking with a heavy pack.
I've included a picture of our Thanksgiving dinner table, we each had a frozen turkey sandwich and a bag of trail mix. When we go into the field we bring a frozen bag of sliced turkey meat and some rolls in our packs. Of course the meat never thaws and tastes very gritty because of the bits of ice. This was a unique Thanksgiving meal, one that I won't forget. I am thankful for the opportunity to have experienced it.
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