Monday, November 16, 2015

Sunday 11/15

Sunday was our first day off since we have been here, and the break was certainly needed.  We enjoyed Sunday brunch which is actually a pretty nice treat once a week.  We were feeling lazy, but somebody brought up hiking up Ob Hill, so we figured we might as well take advantage of the day off.   I had never done the hike before, so I was pretty interested in what we could see from the top.  We scaled up it pretty quick and pretty soon we were looking over McMurdo and the sound.

A view of McMurdo from halfway up.
There were two Kiwi’s who hiked up the other side of the hill and came to the top at about the same time we did.  It was pretty funny the one Kiwi commented on how McMurdo looked like a little kids play city with all of the tonka trucks and helicopters.  I thought that was pretty spot on, and it kind of is a playground for big kids.  The other Kiwi was an older guy (late 60's sorry if you don't think of this as old) who was sharing history about the surroundings.  He pointed out the site of the nuclear reactor that the US used to operate at McMurdo before it leaked.  He also told us a little bit of background on Robert Falcon Scott’s party’s memorial up on this hill (shown below).  This memorial commemorates the party led by Scott that died on their way returning from the South Pole in 1912.  It was erected in 1913, and is made of timbers from Scott's ship.  He delved into people’s opinions of Scott, and how a lot of people think that he was a bad leader, but he argued that Scott always thought of his team before himself.  This guy also had a bunch of stories.  He told us of how he and his buddies were the first people to snowboard at the South Pole.  He said they arrived there and everyone was sleeping.  They were bored so the found a sled, cut it up, put some straps for your feet and went snowboarding.   He said it was a half inch of powder with a 10,000ft base.  I told him we could use more Kiwi's in McMurdo to spice things up a bit, because the base, and America in general, is becoming so uptight.  He said everything these days is so focused on saftey and rules that there isn't any room for fun.  I couldn't agree with him more.  He said yeah we hurt some people back in the day with the stupid stuff we did, but they had it coming.  

Scott Party Memorial on Observation Hill
The Kiwi's said goodbye and started heading down part of the hill that had no trail.  It was an extremely steep grade with ice and snow.  They just sat on their butts and scooted down it.  We were left feeling like chumps because this sixty something year old man just hopped off the trail and scooted down on his butt like a little kid, while we took the trail.  After this Mikey and I decided that we should try to be a little bit more adventurous like the Kiwis.  We even have been working on our accents to see if that helps.

View over McMurdo Sound

We also found some other words to live by (or to die by in Scott's case) on the hike.  This is the quote engraved on the memorial.  It is hard to read because it has been weathered so much, but it says, "To strive to seek to find and not to yield."  It is pretty amazing to me the determination, and sense of adventure these early explorers of Antarctica had.  It just blows my mind, and motivates me to be more adventurous in my own life.

We flew out to Lake Hoare today, and it is great to finally be in the field.  I finally found some free time to write about yesterday, but I don't have the energy tonight to stay up and write about today.  Hopefully I can write some tomorrow and post some of the pictures from the helicopter ride over.

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