Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Ob hill Up Hill

Making merry at Christmas with Merry Maker

Christmas day was a very quiet day at McMurdo. Since this is my first time down, I don't know if this was because everyone was thinking of home or if this was just an off year. It never really felt like Christmas day. It felt like any other weekend. Maybe, it is because we were tired from a 7 day work week.

A not so tired Ob Hill Up Hill participant decked out in elf costume

After I slowly rolled out of bed, I prepared for our annual Christmas day race, the Ob Hill Up Hill. The race would take us over a half mile and up about 750 feet. It wasn't that long, but it wasn't easy either. There were only 15 participants and about 10 spectators. Not that many people on base were even moving yet.

The Ob Hill Up Hill course

The race was so small compared to the the Turkey Trot that I wondered if we were even going to do it. However, the hard working event organizers got things underway and we headed to the start. The only rule was that we had to head up the road and pass a cairn. After the cairn, we could get up the hill anyway we wanted. Some stayed with the switchbacks, others tried to head straight up. Just past the area where we turned up the hill were two abandoned buildings. One of those buildings used to hold the U.S. Navy nuclear power plant, PM-3A, that has since been closed down.

About two-thirds through the Ob Hill Up Hill

The race wasn't too eventful once we got underway. Danny, the eventual winner, shot to the front immediately and gained steam the entire way up the mountain. The highlights of the day had to be Audrey heading up in elf costume and Carl stripping down to his underwear to run the race. No, it wasn't warm enough to run in underwear. I barely ran without a jacket.

Carl scaling Ob Hill with Jon O just behind him.

That is me near the last 20 yards of the race and exhausted.

On the way to the top, almost everyone had to stop and walk for a short stretch. To finish the race, you had to touch the cross at the top of the hill. Once everyone did, we sat down for a group photo and enjoyed the views. It was a clear day and the lighting was great. It might have been my best day on top of Ob Hill so far.

All the participants of the Ob Hill Up Hill

Name Time
Danny Uhl 6:51
Dave Zybowski 7:32
Brody 7:51
Carl Klent 8:44
Jon Owen 8:44
Jared 9:10
Jordan Murphy 10:42
Tom 11:07
Farah McDill 11:34
Graham 12:10
Audrey 12:35
Caesar 13:40
David Ireland 14:16
John Williams 15:44
Jared 15:51

A close up for mom who insists on having pictures of me.

The great view that we were all working for - the top of Ob Hill.

The organizers decided to go with a random drawing to see who would win prizes in the race instead of taking the top finishers. I think this might have been because of the controversy about awarding shirts to the top 50 finishers of the Turkey Trot, independent of sex, age, or choice to walk. Lucky enough, I was still able to get a prize. I won two movie tickets to Hoyt's Cinema. They expire in August 2008. I don't leave the ice until August of 2008. On the other hand, a theater by the same name was raided by 50 drunken Santas later that day. There may still be hope.

After the race, I walked around base and realized just how quiet things were. Tons of people were calling home and the rest just weren't to be found. It was a peaceful day and probably what I needed. I finished up my night with a cup of Oregon Chai in the Coffee House while watching 'The Christmas Story' for the first time. Now people can stop throwing up their arms when they ask if I have seen it. Somewhere in there, I took time to open some great presents from home. Highlights are probably Annie's Organic Mac & Cheese and a tripod to photograph the Aurora Australis this winter. Yeah for all the fun stuff that came though.

When the day closed out, it didn't feel as much like Christmas as I would have hoped, but that was alright. It was still good and the next day I got up at 4:30am so I could start calling home to hear from people on their own Christmas days. It was great to talk to so many people from home and hear Christmas morning excitement in their voice.

On to New Year's now . . .


  1. It's apparently a family thing. I've never seen it either.

  2. I think it is so funny that I had the same experience with Christmas Story. I also watched it Christmas day. Pretty good movie and now I can be in on the jokes.
    love jen

  3. Excellent HQ photos! I'll assume that "Ob Hill" is short for "Observation Hill." I know, I figured that out all by myself. I'm looking forward to more updates in 2008!!