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To the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

MCMURDO STATION, ANTARCTICA— Today we go! Both McMurdo and WAIS Divide weather are permitting us to fly! Soon I will board a C-130 Hercules and fly for four hours (about 1,000 miles) to the middle of the West Antarctica Ice Sheet. Then, we can all finally get to work and collect some ice cores!

My bags are packed for the last time for a while (phew!) and I am certainly itching and ready to go. We had a great Thanksgiving here at McMurdo, with the highlight being the 5K Turkey Trot Race. I actually won the women’s division! The food tasted even better after the race! We had a wonderful spread of turkey, gravy, stuffing, crab legs, stuffed mushrooms, roasted vegetables, fresh rolls and tons of desserts (caramel apples, homemade chocolate truffles, pumpkin pie, ice cream, pudding and raspberry cheesecake!) There were even fresh strawberries and cherries! I certainly got my fill. Despite really missing my family, it was a great holiday! I am looking forward to Christmas and New Years out on the ice!

It was great to be here in McMurdo hiking and meeting people who work here and getting closer to those who will be my peers and colleagues out on the ice. Now the real challenge begins. We all have to say goodbye to daily warm showers, heated buildings, great internet connectivity and warm beds. At WAIS, life will be a challenge as we will be working non-stop, sleeping in tents and sleeping bags and have minimal heated structures to retreat to when it gets really cold! Thankfully we have all had lots of training now and were issued lots of gear so we will have the skills to survive and stay warm!
I can’t wait to send my next post from WAIS! I hope everyone had a very Happy Thanksgiving! Hopefully you’ll hear from me soon!

Here are some photos of the McMurdo area. I won’t be seeing any mountains or sea ice for a while. White will certainly become my favorite color quickly!

McMurdo Station is surrounded by beautiful mountains.

We camped out on the sea ice for survival training. Here is the area around the camp we set up.

Heidi holds up a block as she helps to build a snow wall that served as wind protection for the camp during an overnight survival training.

We took lots of hikes, including a walk over to Scott Base, the station for the Antarctica New Zealand program.

Heidi hiking around the mountains surrounding McMurdo Station.
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2 Responses »

  1. Hi Heidi Bean!!!! I am keeping up with your adventures. How exciting!!! I plan on showing your pictures to Grammie next week, so she can see what you are up to!!! Have a great time and hug a penguin for me!!!! Love, Aunt Martha

  2. Thank you.. Still yet another marvelous posting, it is precisely why My spouse and I return to all your weblog quite often!!