Saturday, November 21, 2009

Penguins at Cape Royds!

Adelie Penguin the Rookery

Finally did get to see a whole slew of penguins and seals. We took a unofficial expedition up to Cape Royds here near McMurdo and got to see scores of Adelies. In addition, we got to see Scott's Terra Nova hut at Cape Evans, and of course Shackleton's Hut at Cape Royds. I will post more pics and videos when I can.

Barne Glacier Front (with seal)

More Penguins!

Hundreds of Penguins

The very close open waters on the other side of Cape Royds

Mother Weddell Seal and her pup

Penguin Videos Part 1

Penguin Videos Part 2

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

Condition 2 in McMurdo and an Open-Mic Night!

Well the Weather has taken a nasty turn here in McMurdo. There's a feisty low pressure system in the Ross Sea that is hammering Ross Island. The good news is that is actually not that cold. The bad news is that with the 50+ knot wind gusts and blowing snow, it is actually pretty intense outside. On a lighter note, I headed over to the Coffee House last night and played a few songs at their Friday night open-mic night. It was really fun. There are a lot of talented musicians down here.

Here's a link to McMurdo's Webcam: McMurdo LIVE WEBCAM

Condition 2

Condition 2 (Hut Point)

View from my office

Nearing Condition 1

Suited up in big-red (in the safety of my warm dorm room)

open-mic night

Brisk Walk out to Hut Point

Thursday, November 12, 2009

RUNNING Observation Hill Trail, Antarctica!

Here are some video clips I took while briskly running along the Ob Hill Loop trail. I was smart enough to wear a neck gaiter this time.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hiking Observation Hill Trail, Antarctica

Trail head for Observation Hill Loop Trail

Went out last night and hiked around the Observation Hill Loop Trail.  This is probably my favourite of the smaller trails here in McMurdo.  The 9 mile Castle Rock loop is obviously much longer, but requires checking in and out with the Firehouse and the carrying of radios.  It also is involves walking/running mostly on snow.

View of the Pressure Ridge and the Ross Ice Shelf
(with White Island off in the distance)

View from the trail looking back toward the road

Looking up at Observation Hill's Peak.  You can just
make out the Scott's Memorial wooden cross at the top
(click image to view larger version) 

Majestic Mt. Discovery seen from the trail

Coming around back into town (McMurdo)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Trail Running in Antarctica

Ross Island Trail System Marker, Antarctica

Decided to go for a little run last night...and man was it cold!  I layered up nicely, but didn't anticipate the high winds.  Even fully geared up and running hard, my face was extremely cold.  I forgot my neck gaiter and paid for it with some light frost nip on my face.  The trail was worth it though.  Great views of Mt. Discover, Observation Hill, and the Sea Ice.  It's a great, albeit feisty, little trail.  Today I hope to get out and do the Ob Hill loop around the base of Observation Hill.  This was my favourite trail from last year.  Once it warms up a little, I also hope to rent out some skis from the gear supply depot here.

McMurdo is very overcrowded this year and busting at the seams with people.  I can't wait to get out to WAIS Divide, but it's going to be a while as the flights keep getting delayed due to weather.

Hut Point Loop Trail

Hut Point Loop Trail Climb

Observation Hill (off in distance) and McMurdo

Mt. Discovery as seen from McMurdo

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sitting Comfortably in McMurdo

The good news is that we've all made it down to McMurdo.  The bad news is....well that we still haven't had any successful flights out to WAIS Divide (except for the initial camp put-in).

This means that I will probably be here in Mac town for a while (at least a week).  I spent the day busy with classwork.  I had to take the refresher snow school course and buff up my knowledge on radio usage, survival, and cold weather life.  I also had my Science in-brief and gathered my gear the  Berg Field Center (aka "the BFC").

I am crammed like a sardine into a dorm room with 4 other "transient" camp folks and it certainly makes for a noisy (snoring) evening.  I imagine that I will be through with most of my gear retrieval and classwork by end of week.

Here are some quick pics:

The mighty C-17 in Christchurch

View from the C-17 featuring huge crack in the sea ice

One of many ice streams seen from the C-17

Mighty Mt. Erebus (with cargo line in front)

Mt. Terror and the ice runway outside of McMurdo

Action on the ice runway:  LC-130 Hercs queuing for take-off

Galley in McMurdo

Ultrarunningguy creator made a comic about my ice adventures.  Yay!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Congrats to Shane "The Gimp" Wohlken : TRIPLE CROWNER!

Shane on the PCT in 2005

Just a quick note here.  I just found out that a friend of mine that I met while thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2007 has just finished his Triple-Crown!

Shane "The Gimp" Wohlken thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail back in 2005 and the Appalachian Trail in 2007 (where I met him).  This year, Shane set out to complete the coveted triple-crown of thru-hiking by completing the most remote and uncharted of the three....the Continental Divide Trail.  Just a few days ago, he successfully crossed the border into Mexico and celebrated with his dad (after 4 intense and extreme months of hiking).

Way to go Shane!

Here is a link to his website:  Shane's Hike

Shane Celebrating in Mexico just a few days ago!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Christhchurch NZ: Delays, Delays, and More Delays

Well, the bad news is flights down to Antarctica are horribly backed up due to weather and mechanical issues.  The good news is that this means a few "free" days in Christchurch New Zealand!  I spent the morning going for a nice run around the park, and exploring the city.  I went to my favourite coffee shop, strolled through the botanical gardens, and paid a visit to the Canterbury Museum (featuring the Antarctic Exhibits).  It's nice to have a few days to take in the city, but I know it will just mean a lot of double-duty running around in McMurdo and WAIS when we finally get there.  Oh well, I can't (and won't) complain.  I'm enjoying whatever adventures come my way...
Cathedral Square

Sir Robert Falcon Scott Statue

At the CDC getting clothing

My partners in crime aka the 3 B's:  (Left side) Bess and Bo (right Side) Bruce

 Some interesting street signs

2009 Amundsen Nose Rubbing (for luck)

Last year's  2008 Amundsen Nose Rubbing (for luck)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

From the land of Marmite and Mordor

Greetings form Christchurch, New Zealand

Made it into town yesterday afternoon and am now also a day into the future.  (That is right, it is already thursday here, and I can tell you that the Phillies Win!  woo hoo).

The flights were extraordinarily long this year as we were routed all the way through Sydney Australia.  This meant a 14+ hour flight from LA....all while sitting next to TWO small infants.  You can guess how that experience went.

I fought off the jetlag successfully and stayed awake until about 8:30 pm before crashing, so I feel pretty good today.

Christchurch is beautiful.  I truly feel home when I'm here.  I would absolutely love to live here one day.  Everything about this city just feels right.  All the reasons that I didn't want to leave last year came back in full force this morning.   In I write this I'm now realizing that I should be out in the Botanical Gardens right now going for a run.

so ...

a parting, and poignant quote from the Robert Falcon Scott statue in downtown Christchurch:

"I do not regret this journey which shows
that Englishmen can endure hardships,
help one another, and meet death with
as great fortitude as ever in the past"

..and now off to run

Monday, November 2, 2009

Here we go again....

Heading out of Rochester Intl. Airport.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Packing up...Heading for Antarctica Tomorrow

Here we go. Getting everything together for the next 3 months down south. The crazy airline adventure begins tomorrow at 4:15 pm EST.

For those of you wondering the route will be:

Rochester, NY to
Chicago, IL to  (~1.5 hours)
Los Angeles, CA to  (~4 hours)
Sydney, AUS to (~15 hours)
Christchurch, NZ to (~ 3 hours)
McMurdo Station, ANT to (~5 hours on C-17)
WAIS Divide Field Camp, ANT (~4 hours on LC-130)

All times are in flight times and don't include airport, customs, and layover times.