(Functionally) Everlasting Light

legal buy viagra online canada IMG_0160I was lucky enough to visit Denali National Park in Alaska, just once, staying at a set of cabins in the deep interior, not far from Denali (thankfully now officially known as such) itself. The trip into the park takes about four hours by bus from Healey, on the park’s boundary, but given the amount of time we spent taking time aside for meals and stopping to look at bears, caribou, and the like, and also given our late-morning departure, we didn’t actually get on-site until 10 o’clock at night. But at that time of year you simply don’t see darkness that far north, none at all, and the late-night daylight had a way of making me forget whatever tiredness I might’ve felt: my brother and I went on a short walk around the premises simply because we were so excited to be out there in the wilderness. It simply did not feel as if we were two hours short of midnight.

Antarctica is far colder and far more strikingly devoid of life than Alaska, but there is a similar effect: having developed a bit of an obsession with the game Settlers of Catan, we’ve gone on for round after round of post-dinnertime strategizing, unaware of the passing time, only to realize suddenly that it’s already nearly midnight. When I stop to think about it, I do notice fatigue, and as I ought to know that’s something worth keeping an eye on, while I’m here, but it’s quite easy to just snap into the rhythm of what one is doing and simply tune it out because the light is so different in that it, essentially, never does change at all.

But other things have changed: I commented, while looking out of the window of our hotel in Christchurch (where we had some of the best lamb I’ve had in my life out of what was basically a roadside stand, I’ll note), that the trees and grass I saw in somebody’s yard, across the street, were essentially the last living greenery we’d see for months. About a week into our stay in the Austral Regions, I have yet to see a single living thing besides other people, which is a first for me, and somehow both fascinating and terrifying all at once. The wind is something else, too; a few days ago, I walked out to Hut Point Peninsula, where Robert Falcon Scott’s final shelter sits (alongside several seal mummies), in order to get some panoramas. Panoramas I did indeed get, but only just in time; my iPhone, which I was using at the time, in tandem with a stylus that stopped me from having to take my gloves off, actually ceased to work at one point because it was so damned cold from the wind chill. I took that as a sign that it might be time to return to base.

All of us have kept reasonably warm, however, and having spent much of the last week running around and getting our trip to the Dry Valleys in order, I have a great deal of confidence in the McMurdo support staff, and, perhaps most importantly, in ourselves, to stay safe, keep reasonably warm, and get some good geology done in the process. I hope to have at least one more post done before I go cold turkey on my internet addiction, but for now, this is my greeting from McMurdo Base, Southern Victoria Land, Antarctica. As we’ll soon be saying over our VHF radios, over and clear. — Nick

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