Now that we’re here in McMurdo (yes! we made it!), our thoughts are focused on getting out into the field so we can start collecting and processing soil samples. But getting out into the field isn’t simple. First, every member of our team needs to have all the appropriate safety training. For us newbies on the team, this meant Snow School (also known as Happy Camper).
For the past two days, our group of 10 Happy Campers discussed risk assessment and cold injuries, practiced setting up tents and building snow walls, and learned how to communicate on the continent’s radio system. We headed out to our camping site and set to work creating our cozy home — complete with kitchen table and private sleeping areas. Since I wanted a new winter sleeping experience, I decided to dig my own snow trench (it is exactly what it sounds like). After many hours of grueling shoveling, I had a hole in snow big enough to sit up in (without hitting my head on the roof) and long enough to fit my sleeping bag. What a warm and cozy night it was!
During our two days out, we were blessed with clear skies and beautiful views of Mt. Erebus, Mt. Discovery, and the Royal Society Range.
Looking out toward the mountains made me even more excited to head out to the Dry Valleys and see more of this continent! Our first day of field work will hopefully be on Tuesday, but we still have a lot of work to do before heading out. Setting up the lab, organizing our food and gear, a few more training videos….