Mt. Discovery on my final night.
My last night on the Ice this year was exactly what I was looking for. The friends were right. The lighting for my walk home was right. It was time to go and I was able to be present. I was able to concentrate on the good and not worry about the bad and the uncontrollable. It was a rare moment for me when there was stuff to swirl about. I just might be learning a few new things.
For the start of my last evening, I went to bag drag. Bag drag is when you weigh in yourself and all of your gear for the next day's flight. You also drop off all your checked baggage. The trick about this is that if the plane gets delayed a day, or a week, or even a month like it did for some poor WAIS Divide people in the beginning of the season, you don't get your checked bags back. You are stuck with whatever you have in your one carry on and with what you can scrounge up from Skua Central. I was a little disappointed at my bag drag. I had managed to come down with one bag, but was now going back with two. I have no idea what I accumulated.
After bag drag, I got on to doing what I do best - chatting with friends and drinking chai. I spent a lot of my last night in the Coffeehouse soaking up the goodness of friends. After things wound down there, I visited some other friends and their home theater system. Yes, they have their own home theater system set up in Antarctica. It is better than most systems I've seen in the states. I am constantly amazed at the way we pamper ourselves on the Ice. When I went down for the first time, I thought it actually was a harsh continent instead of just a cliche.
My flight off the Ice lands at the Pegasus airfield.
The day of my flight on the Ice was a bit of a let down. I wanted to visit more with friends, but those friends were working. I had a long breakfast, last hike up Ob Hill in the snow with no visibility, ate lunch, got a sandwich to go for an in-flight meal, and then I was off. On the way out to the runway, we saw a few emperor penguins on the road. Once we got to the runway, we had to stand outside for an hour and wait for the plane. When I left at the end of winter, I think we had a place inside to wait and we didn't wait long. It was a lot more efficient, but that might have been because we left on a mostly empty plane too. This plane was full. Anyway, standing around wasn't fun. However, after a little bit we got distracted, found a few friends coming in for winter, and threw the frisbee around and those were fun. After an hour of waiting, we hopped on the plane to wait for another hour and then we were off to New Zealand.