Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lake Hoare camp

Lake Hoare field camp.

The day after I went to Lake Frixel and saw the sundogs, I was delayed yet again! I could not believe my luck. SIX DAYS in the dry valleys. Unfortunately, I was so wiped I didn't get out to explore. I hung around camp which left me with more time to spend with my hosts and enjoy a slower pace of life. My hosts, Rae and Becky, were such a treat to spend time with. I don't think I would have enjoyed myself nearly as much if they weren't there.

Daily life in the camp moved at a precious pace. It was the anti-thesis of life at McMurdo where everything is go, go, go. Each morning, you woke up and were responsible for your own breakfast. Before the work day started, we would usually chat, drink hot drinks, and do a group crossword puzzle. After breakfast, Rae and Becky both had a bunch of work to do to get the camp ready for the season. They would have me help them where possible. I think I helped harvest glacier berries for fresh water the most because it was a simple task they could set me to and then do their own thing. I also shoveled snow, resculpted snow steps, changed propane tanks, carried boxes, put up tents, started a really, really cold ATV, tied cables down, and cleaned.

After a few hours labor, we'd come in for lunch and eat leftovers from the night before. Rae might whip up some cookies for an afternoon snack and then we'd get back to it. They were pretty busy with camp opening activities. I'm not sure what they do once camp is fully operational, but it would probably involve assisting the grantees somehow in addition . Life moved at a wonderful place for the few days I was there. Usually, Life moves a bit faster there usually because they have more people there to support.

I'm missing lots of odds and ends that I should be talking about. Rae sent me home with one of the best batches of macadamia nut cookies that I've ever had. She made a ridiculous peanut sauce to over veggies and rice. I had white chocolate. I must be hungry since I keep mentioning food or it was just that good. We all take turns cleaning up. We did a ton of crosswords. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed doing so many crosswords.

Glacier berry box by the door of the main hut.

Glacier Berries and the calved spot we harvest them from in the distance.

The ATV to haul things around Lake Hoare. We used the pull cord over a hundred times to start it in the cold. Ugh.

Mt. Rae

Canada Glacier calve site and place to harvest berries for weekly showers.

Rae, the camp manager for twelve years running, in the dining/kitchen area of the main hut.


My sleeping quarters for my one night in the Scott tent we set up. I was in the main hut the other nights since no one else was around.

Solar energy.

One of the research labs at the camp.

This dead penguin was just outside the Scott tent I slept in.

The rocket toilet that burns your human waste. Kind of smelly.

The urinal for men since the rocket toilet doesn't do too well with too much liquid.

A helicopter coming into to land at Lake Hoare on my final day. Most people sleep in tents while at Lake Hoare.


  1. What are glacier berries?!

    Your blog makes for great reading, Brody :)

  2. Glacier Berries are what we pick up for fresh water. When part of the glacier calves (falls off from itself), it breaks when it hits the frozen lake. We pick up the smaller pieces or break the big pieces into smaller pieces to take back to the camp to use for water.

    Love that you are reading and love the comments. Thanks, Lisa!