4 October, 1998

I am actually copying this journal entry from my written journal I am trying to keep. I was camping out in the cold going through two days of cold weather survival training. The day began when eight of us loaded into a couple of tracked vehicles called "sprites" which took us out onto the Ross Ice Shelf where we camped overnight for our training. Even though the temperatures were below zero fahrenheit I never really got that cold. I even slept in a sleeping bag on the floor of a man-made snow cave. We were taught how to survive if we ever got trapped outside of the main settlement overnight. We began the session discussing hypothermia and its symptoms. We also talked about how easy it is to get frostbite here without being out in the cold for very long. The first afternoon we set up mountaineering tents and Scott tents. Scott tents look like a fancy teepee, only enclosed in vinyl and much easier to set up. One thing I never thought about was staking down a tent in ice and snow. You have to dig special pits to properly anchor the tents to prevent them from being blown away by the heavy Antarctic winds. I worked with two others and built a snow cave, roughly looks like an igloos. It took us several hours to build but it was worth it. When it was finished we let it "glom." This is a fancy way of saying we let the igloo solidify. When we finished we could climb around and walk on the roof. The sides ended up about a foot and a half thick. Once we were inside of the snow cave we could not hear anything outside. Once I got into my sleeping bag I was very warm an d snug. I, in fact, h

There are eight of us in this training group and we really have worked well together. Everybody chips in and helps in all of the chores. Everyone has been smiling and telling jokes all day. Everyone is exhausted from the hard work we have done but still every person is in good spirits. It has been a hard day but fun.

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