Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Antarctic Moments, Part I, Grand Slam

Our work camp, McMurdo base

This place can be tough. You work long hours. You spend most of your time indoors in a work camp. You may or may not enjoy your job. You might not like the food. If you are lucky, you only have one roommate. You could have up to five. There are a lot of things that could make this place difficult, but we keep coming down. I keep saying I'm enjoying myself. I could be lying to myself, but I like to think the positive moments in between just make it all worth it.

Ross Island winter grand slam trail map

A few weeks ago, Dave B took me out on what was supposed to be a short hike. Instead, we turned it into a grand slam of all McMurdo's winter recreational routes. I haven't done that since my marathon training ended in January.

Me on the way to Castle Rock (photo by Dave Barud)

Castle Rock and Dave B.

I was a little concerned if I'd be able to handle the hike. I'd been feeling more tired than not recently and just didn't think I had it in me. We started out slow and just figured we would play it by ear. We also took plenty of breaks to keep my old man legs moving. The one place that we stopped was a warming hut on the way out to Castle Rock. It doesn't have a source of heat, but it does get you out of the wind. Based on the amount of snow in there, I wouldn't want to have to rely on it too long to stay warm.

Inside the red apple warming hut.

Overlooking the Dellbridge Islands.

There isn't too much to stay about the hike itself. We walked. It was a beautiful day. It got cold when the sun set. The end of the hike was definitely a slog. I was tired. I wanted a warm meal. However, none of those can carry the emotion of overlooking the Dellbridge Islands to the north, looking into the great expanse of nothing to the south, or sitting on top of Ob Hill at the end of a good day. Those who have done long hikes know what I'm talking about. Those who don't, I don't think I have the right words to invoke the right feelings.

The great nothing to the south.


There is a peace of mind that comes to me when I am outdoors here. I can't achieve the same feeling with friends over chai, while working out, or even while tucking myself into bed. I'm not sure what it is about this place, but I think the beauty is part of why people keep coming up. The rest is probably the community. At least, those will be my reasons.

Enjoying a day well spent (photo by Dave B).

1 comment:

  1. instead of getting sleepy at this hour, i am awakened by your writing. lol i should stop reading your posts at night!