|Research at Byrd Glacier outlet|
|VFR over the Cook Mountains en route to the Darwin Glacier|
After a single pass we circled back to land up the Darwin Glacier into sloping, rising terrain of about 6-7 degrees. After touchdown we taxied up to the camp, shut down and grabbed our shovels. Shovels are invaluable here. You leave a camp, a fuel cache a tent alone for a day or so and the snow drifts. Two days and its buried. This stuff was out for under a week and buried. The technique is to mark your gear with flags if you are departing the area so you can find it again. Simple yet effective (and necessary if you ever want to see your gear again).
We dug for about an hour and pulled about 25 empty fuel drums, 3-4 pallets of gear and an assortment of scientific equipment and loaded it back in the plane. I now have an appreciation for tractors and forklifts-- you have none of that in the field so it's all by hand. Fun. Although -15 or so, you still sweat like a pig after an hour of hard labor. You have to be careful to peel off your layers and cool down or else everything gets wet with sweat, causing hypothermia quickly and then freezes to you once you cool off. We spent a couple hours here and then hopped back in and headed back to base camp.
After another uneventful landing at Pegasus on the ice runway there this time (versus a skiway--it's dug down to the blue ice for wheeled planes). Ironically on final we passed right over the namesake of the runway--the wreckage of the Pegasus--a navy Super Constellation that crashed in 1970. A vivid reminder to an unforgiving continent. This is for another blog as I intend to hike out to the crash site (hopefully) before I head out.
|A view across the Darwin Glacier at the Darwin Range|
|The mighty Basler atop Darwin Glacier with Roadend Nunatak in the background|
|I need a beer.|