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3 December, 2001

I did one of my assigned duties today by installing our weather station. I mentioned before that the temperature is deceiving, because of the sunshine. My hands were painful. I was on the roof of the hut installing the anemometer and windvane, and I couldn't keep working very long without a little handwarming session. I finished putting up the outside temperature probe, tie-wrapped everything, and went inside. I turned the display on, and there was the answer--twenty nine degrees below zero! That explains it. This makes riding a snowmobile a real treat too, and I only had to drag a fifty-five gallon drum about 100 feet.

There was a lot of grunt work done today. The kinds of things that have to be done just to make this place live-able, and to hopefully improve it every season. I refilled oil tanks, cleaned out the latrine (that's when twenty nine below is just fine, thank you) and dug out trenches to anchor a pole that will sport a windmill tomorrow. We are trying to install a wind and solar powered energy supply here. Right now our electricity comes from a generator. One of the things we don't have is electric lights. No need. Windows work just fine with the exception of a two-hour shadow as the sun passes behind the summit. Very cold, then.

I took a small hike to some ice towers just before lunch. Strange, strange structures. Blue ice towering twenty feet or more and hollow. This is a volcano, and the crater rim is not the only place that hot gasses are emitted. Steam vents come out of the earth, and their moisture freezes on contact with the atmosphere, gradually building a tower. Looking inside is disconcerting. The world around is brilliant blue and white, but into the pit is a black, steaming netherworld. I've certainly never seen anything like it.

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An ice tower. I could barely see the bottom in this one. _________________________________________________________________ Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at http://explorer.msn.com/intl.asp

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