Thanksgiving dinner was unreal. It was almost better than grandma's... but not quite. It is pretty impressive what Rae and Renee are able to create given the resources available. I really appreciated all of their hard work to make Thanksgiving as fun, and close to being back home as possible. We stuffed our faces on the thanksgiving meal, and then played a bunch of snow volleyball the rest of the night. Mikey brought a volleyball down from the states, and really wanted to get some games going. So, we set up a court on the lake where some snow had drifted up which made for a nice flat, soft surface, that was almost beach like. We propped two bamboo poles up, and fashioned a net between them. We started by trying to actually weave the net. This lasted for about two rows. We then realized that it would be Christmas before we ever were able to weave a net worth playing on. So instead we made a makeshift net. I guess to call it a net would be a stretch. It didn't stop many balls, but it did the trick enough to know if it was a point or not.
The next day we were all pretty lazy. We kind of just lounged around and watched movies here. We got out and took some samples, and tried the ice skates out on a smooth part of the lake. Yesterday, we made it out on a hike. We hiked Vosslips, which is right across the valley from the Lake Hoare Camp. It is a deceivingly long hike (9 hours, and about 11 miles round trip), but the view from the top was unbelievable. Here are a couple shots that just don't do it justice.
Yesterday we did a little bit of work, and one of the guys here took us to one of his favorite spots in the Dry Valleys. This little hideout was pretty crazy. There were rivers and ponds all cut through the ice as if it were bedrock. It also was sheltered from the wind, which is almost impossible to find in the Dry Valleys. When we were sitting on this little beach Mikey said, "This is the warmest I have ever been in Antarctica." It was true. We were sitting there in t-shirts soaking up the sun. It had to have been 40 degrees and dead calm. Just insane weather for down here especially this early in the season. A lot of people think it is shaping up to be a big flow year because the glaciers have very little snow on them, and it has been unseasonably warm early. Low snow pack might cause you think that it would be a low flow year, because this is how things work back home. However, low snow pack here means that the glaciers are dirtier (they don't have a fresh new white coating on them), the dirtier the glacier, the more the glacier absorbs solar energy, and the quicker it melts.