Monday, December 13, 2010

Into the Dry Valleys

Today I left McMurdo Station and headed to the dry valleys to being my field work.

Every time I go between McMurdo and my field sites in the dry valleys, I fly on a helicopter. First, all of my camping equipment, my hiking gear, and the tools I need to do my research had to be loaded onto the helicopter. We leave things like that to the professionals. Here are the heli-techs loading up my gear this morning:

Meanwhile, we stand back and wait for the signal to get on the helicopter. This morning I flew with my new friend Derrick, a scientist who will be using radar to map melting water from snow and glaciers in the dry valleys. This was his first time going to the dry valleys. See how excited he is?

Then, we flew across McMurdo Sound to the dry valleys on the mainland of the continent. Of course, the water is covered in ice, so we're not flying over open water. It takes about 30 minutes to fly across and reach the field camp.

And then, we reached Taylor Valley, where I spend most of my time in the field.

So now I am back at my favorite field camp called "F6". It's on Lake Fryxell in Taylor Valley. I have an absolutely beautiful commute to work!