November 17, 2004
I lost all track of time today. I did not have my watch and so I worked until it seemed like it was time for lunch, and then when we were done with lunch, I worked until dinner. It was nice not being on a schedule. We just did work without worrying about what time it was. I laid out the network of new mass balance poles for this site today, and over the next couple of days I will freeze them in. I'm still working on how to keep my boots dry…
November 19, 2004
I have finished the mass balance poles and began working on the secondary snowpits for the Commonwealth. The routine is the same as it was on the Clark, though things go faster each day as we get better at our work.
November 20, 2004
I made a brief trip to the rocks on the side of the glacier today to explore, and I found life! These pictures show lichens growing in a crack in a boulder maybe 10 feet from the edge of the ice. The lichens find sheltered places like this crack to grow. It's amazing to think that they survive here. We visit, but they live here. Very hardy stuff! It made a nice break from my continuing work finishing up the snowpits.
November 21, 2004
Another pancake breakfast with bacon! Our cook tent smells like cooking grease. You might think that sounds gross, and maybe it is gross, but it is a very comfortable smell to us, now that we have been living with it for three weeks. We took a slow day today and did a half-day of work followed by a nap in the afternoon and a new movie tonight: Spinal Tap. We watched as we ate our Hallibut dinner with rice and had a very pleasant evening. The weather continues to be outstanding.
November 22, 2004
We have checked the other mass balance poles – three that we installed last year – and it looks like the whole area around our camp lost ice this year. There was a big wind storm in the area in May, and we may be seeing the results of high winds on the Commonwealth. The storm did a lot of damage in McMurdo, so the evidence of high winds here is not surprising, but it is interesting that the Clark and the Commonwealth have such different accumulation records for the year, given that they are only about 15 kilometers apart. The sastrugi (wind sculpted snow forms) are impressive, and make for tricky travel with a sled; they are, however, very pretty. I hope the pictures give some idea of their beauty.