Yesterday was a pretty terrific day of "work". Our flight was scheduled for 11:45 to Miers Valley. Miers Valley is a couple valleys to the south of Taylor Valley, and is a little bit less traveled than Taylor Valley. This was my first trip to this part of the Dry Valleys, so I was pretty excited. There is also a fantastic view of the Royal Society Range as you are flying over the glaciers on the way to Miers (shown below). When we landed there we were baffled. There was no wind, and the temperature was about 35 degrees F. This is probably warmer than what you poor people are experiencing back in Minnesota at the moment. We were able to work without jackets on which is a rare occurrence, especially in November. We got our work done without any hiccups, and then we headed out on our side mission for the day. Some of the UNAVCO folks had a gps antenna mount that was left on the peak of Mount Holiday, which is located in Miers Valley. Since we were going to be over there they asked if we would pick it up for them. We agreed, but the only clue to help us find it was the gps points. This turned into quite the easter egg hunt via helicopter. We hovered over the exact coordinates for a while and were unable to find it from the air (this thing was an aluminum bracket that was about 4 inches in width). So, our pilot suggested that we land and search on foot. It took him a while, but he was able to find a little landing spot near the peak. This place was like a landscape of another world. Unlike anything I had hiked through in the Dry Valleys yet. This peak juts up between the two glaciers in Miers Valley, and has been carved and scoured by the wind and sand. Turns out the wind has a pretty wild imagination when it comes to carving rocks.
|I have bagged some peaks on foot, but I much prefer this method.|
|There isn't much for scale but that large rock on top is at least 12 feet tall.|
We hiked around up there and finally found the piece we were looking for. We retrieved it, checked out the Martian landscape for a little longer, and then headed out for our next stop down at Miers stream. We opened everything up at Miers Stream, and began the 30 minute helicopter ride back to Lake Hoare. We got back to Lake Hoare, and took it pretty easy. Just tried to stay out of the way of the kitchen. It was such a good weather day filled with new places, this will be a hard one to beat.
I am looking forward to stuffing my face here, however I will be missing home today. Hope all is well back there! I have to say I am thankful for all my friends and family back home who are enjoying a nice break from me, but giving the illusion that they miss me! I think most of all I will miss my grandmas cooking, and all of the booze fueld arguments about politics. Happy Thanksgiving eve to you all back home!