Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sundogs and Lake Frixel

A morning sundog over Lake Hoare camp.

After spending one more brilliant day in the Dry Valleys, I woke up feeling like Charlie when he found the last golden ticket. I was elated at having been able to spend an extra couple days in the valleys. After a quick morning walk, I settled in for breakfast. Rae called in on the radio to get that day's helicopter schedule so I'd know when to be packed up. I was slated to head out in the afternoon. However, they also said that all flights were on a two hour delay due to more bad weather. As the day progressed, two hours became four, four became six, and soon all the flights were canceled for the day again! My two day trip had become a five day escapade!!

A second sundog over Lake Hoare camp.

Over the course of the morning, we saw two sundogs. Sundogs are an atmospheric phenomenon that create a halo around the sun. They can occur at any time of year, any where in the world, but I've never seen them until I was in Antarctica. In order to form, sundogs need ice crystals or fine snow particles in the air to refract the sun's light. That refraction can give the halo some coloring, just like a prism. It is such a neat natural phenomenon to see.

Canada Glacier

After another slow day of camp chores, I was set loose for another trot around the valley. This time, I set off towards Lake Frixel, which is the closest lake to McMurdo Sound. Unfortunately, I just didn't have the energy. I had been going too hard for too many days. When I reached the lake, I decided to just turn back instead of heading for my final destination. I didn't need to go any farther. The extra day and being there was scenery enough.

Lake Frixel

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