Antarctic Oasis

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We’re finally en route to our next camp location in the Transantarctic Mountains after a cold month in the Miller Range. Realistically only about three or so weeks of that were actually cold considering a long delay in which we were trapped in a single tent trying to stay warm. I had never spent that amount of time in a sleeping bag. John seemed to settle into the new lifestyle easily, as if he hibernates regularly. He broke from his hibernation only to demand cups of tea or to call McMurdo Station hoping to hear news that a plane was on its way to move our camp. That plane would ultimately take seven days. But now we’re transiting through a large established deep field camp on the Shackleton Glacier. The camp is home to approximately 15-20 staff, pilots, and scientists at any one time and provides hot meals, hot showers, and heated tents—i.e., the closest thing to an Antarctic oasis. The problem is we’re only here for less than 24 hours.
Tomorrow we’ll hop on another flight and head for the Gabbro Hills region to set up camp all over again. We’re farther south than we were previously but we’ll be crossing our fingers for good weather. The last month has been filled with 30+ kt winds, fixing skidoos in our living room, and exploring the far reaches of the Miller Range that looks out over the East Antarctic ice sheet. The experience brought with it a new sensation: the feeling of your finger nails separating from their cuticles due to freezing temperatures. Currently they feel similar to a loose tooth but for all your nails. The next couple of weeks will hopefully be filled with sunny days, beautiful mountains, and interesting geology. But it will more likely be filled with hazardous crevasses, lengthy climbs carrying bags of rocks, and bone chilling temperatures. Unfortunately, Captain J-Bird won’t be joining us for the latter half of our field season. A mountaineering guide named Evan will replace him and be tasked with keeping Elizabeth and I alive… and carrying all our rocks.

2 thoughts on “Antarctic Oasis

  1. You are some amazing people , i know demian is a very driven person , but the things you all go through to get the research specimens is really more than most people would do to save their on lives , im so proud of my son Demian for being the young man he is , but i am blown away by all of you for your efforts & courage , skills …. Be safe & stay warm

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