Early last week we shifted our camp about 30 miles south from the Taylor Valley to the Joyce Glacier area. Our new home is tucked behind a steep ridge, sheltering us from all but the strongest winds and making life generally more pleasant. We are camped on what passes for a beach by Antarctic standards, except that our lake-front view is frozen and made entirely of blue-ice (we named our camp Buddha beach after the large lake a few miles to our north).
We’ve been hiking as far as we can each day to map and collect samples, and although our target samples, are rarer here, we’ve learnt a lot, and also managed to make ascents of most of the surrounding peaks (all of which Demian has claimed are first American ascents).
In a change to our daily routine, last Wednesday we were picked up by helicopter and headed north to sample some outlying locations. After 6 hours the helicopter returned and collected us, and our now substantially heavier backpacks,with us having spent the intervening time sampling everything within walking distance. Once again, we all feel very privileged to have experienced one of the most exciting parts of doing science in Antarctica – geology by helicopter!
As I sit writing this, we are all safely back at camp relaxing and eagerly anticipating Rob’s dinner creation of chicken-sausage-hash brown-vegetable stir-fry, followed by (canned) fruit de-jour. Tomorrow is thanksgiving (which I’ll let Demian describe in detail in a later post) then we’ll shift to our final camp on Monday, and we’ll be on the home (2 week) stretch.
Enjoy thanksgiving wherever you are! We’re certainly looking forward to a couple of days of rest and good food.
~John for the Antarctica360 team.