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Up in the clouds, by helicopter and by foot

December 26, 2009

Christmas in Antarctica! It was a good, if strange one. Pluses included:
~ A place completely devoid of any advertisements. The only TV commercials are military ones advising us that we should “take some time out of our days to reduce stress and play!”, telling us how to deal with moving kids again and again, that if we deep fry a frozen turkey it will explode, and that sexual assault is a crime
~ The feast in the galley
~ A pretty amazing art show in the carpenter’s shop last night, including some of the most beautiful furniture I’ve ever seen that was made completely out of glued plywood, a giant see saw, a big Newton’s Cradle made out of bowling balls and arches from a big tent, and a room-sized camera obscura
Shooting a movie with friends that we’re going to enter into the film festival (I’ll post it later when it’s finished)
~ Two whole days off!
Minuses included:
~ Being very far away from family, friends, and home
~ Not baking a gingerbread house
~ The strange disorientation that comes with Christmas being one of the warmest days of the year, though that’s not really a minus so much as a strange point of note

So all in all, it’s been a really good holiday season.

The trip that I spoke about in my last post was amazing. The floor system that we took down was a big and burly one, so there was hard work to do, but we had great weather and with 9 of us we made pretty short work of it and were able to go hiking. It was one of the best hikes I’ve ever been on. According to the altimeter on someone’s watch, we went about 4,000 feet up on the hills (cliffs, really, though I’m hesitant to say I was cliff scrambling because my Mom reads this – sorry Mom) beside the lake where we were staying. I could see about five or six glaciers, which were particularly striking because there was no snow on the ground in the valley, so there was a big contrast between the dark brown rock and the white, beautiful, textured, glistening, flowing glaciers.
Also, I got to hook a 2,000 pound load to the belly of a helicopter that was hovering directly over my head! I have to get the picture from a friend, but I’ll post it soon. It was a pretty big adrenaline rush.
I’m leaving on Monday for a three week stint at a field camp, so I might not be able to post for a bit. So Happy New Year to everyone!

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