December 13, 2004
Brenda and I were fortunate enough to hitch a ride in a Twin Otter directly from McMurdo to Reedy Glacier for a happy reunion with the rest of our group, I-175. They had just spent two weeks down at the mouth of the glacier, where it flows into the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and were ready to move camp with us up to the Quartz Hills. A particularly amusing aspect of a camp move is loading the heavy skidoos into the Twin Otter, a process that involves one of the pilots driving the machine rapidly up a wooden ramp and into the back of the plane, like a stuntman. Everyone stands back as he approaches and then we rush forward to help push the skidoo up the ramp.
Our week in the Quartz Hills was spent finishing off last year’s mapping, as well as covering a lot of new ground. In contrast to the unbroken sunshine of 2003, this year we had to deal with days of low cloud and snow showers, which make camping a little less comfortable and mapping almost impossible. It wasn’t all bad though, sometimes we would find ourselves above the clouds, working in the warm sunshine. Furthermore, in the course of our work in the Quartz Hills we came across many beautiful crystals, such as black tourmalines, red garnets, and rose quartz.
December 12, 2004
Here we are again, back in McMurdo Station for our 2004 field season. We were delayed in Christchurch because of recent warm weather, which has made the sea-ice runway unsafe. So for three days, as the new air strip was being established on the thicker ice shelf, we enjoyed spring in New Zealand. Now we are here we actually have very little to do, given that the rest of our group is already installed at Reedy Glacier with all the equipment and food. Yesterday, we procured a few food items that the others have been requesting from the field and also took the mandatory refresher course, where we review the use of radios, stoves, tents, etc. If the weather holds, we should be on our way to Reedy Glacier tomorrow morning, via the South Pole, and we can get back to work at last.
y Glacier tomorrow morning, via the South Pole, and we can get back to work at last.