17 December, 1998
Hello from Beacon Valley!!!
Success!! Out to Beacon today. Dr. Marchant, Eric Moore and Adam Lewis left on the first helicopter flown by the RNZAF (Royal New Zealand Air Force). Drew Lorrey and I flew out about an hour later on an 211 the large National Science Foundation helicopter. It was breathtaking to get my first aerial view of our neck of the woods.
We flew in over the Blue Glacier and went up went up the Taylor Glacier to Beacon. We also flew by the Cat's Paw Glacier.
As soon as we got off the helicopter it was time to set up tents. I helped Drew set up Dr. Marchant's Scott tent and then we set up Drew's mountain tent. We are wondering if he will be comfortable in that tent.
Dr. Marchant (Dave) is busy setting up my tent - the cook tent. He is arranging the interior to his satisfaction and so we will be comfortable in it. Dave has been working in the Dry valleys for 15 years and knows how to have a happy, productive camp. It will be cozy - all the social action, all the food and all the music will be in that tent. Yes we have a walkman and some speakers rigged up hanging from the "clothesline" so that we can have music. This will help morale.
So I have a cot with my sleeping bag on the left as you enter the tent. Three people will be able to sit on it while we are in the tent. Right under where my head will be is the HF radio for making comms with McMurdo and other camps. On the right are several rock boxes that will serve as seats for two people. The water well, a huge spaghetti pot, is in the corner. It will hold about 15 gallons of water. Opposite the door is the kitchen cabinet and on top of the cabinet is the Coleman stove. There are notebook-sized pockets sewn into the walls. In these we will keep our plate, utensils and maybe a few other items.
My jobs will be to gather snow in garbage bags and melt enough snow to keep us supplied with water. There is a deep permanent snowbank nearby that I will use to get the snow. I'll shovel the snow into a garbage bag, tie it up and carry it on my head to back to camp. It will be stored next to the tent. Then we can scoop out the snow into a stock pot to melt it. I'll also be making coffee for everyone in the morning and maybe starting breakfast. I will also be responsible for orienting the solar panels for the battery charger for the VHF radios and for the HF radio. I will also be making our 7:30 communications with McMurdo operations.
For dinner we had Spags and Rags - spaghetti and Ragu.
There is no crying in Beacon Valley.
Niles North High School
Skokie, IL 60077
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