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.
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.
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.
Danny Uhl 6:51
Dave Zybowski 7:32
Carl Klent 8:44
Jon Owen 8:44
Jordan Murphy 10:42
Farah McDill 11:34
David Ireland 14:16
John Williams 15:44
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 . . .