November 6, 2009 The Last Day at the Tunnel
Today was kind of a bittersweet day. All of our sampling is done and today we had to pack everything up. It is great to be done and everyone is excited to go home, but the Dry Valleys are an amazing place and I will definitely be sad to go.
Yesterday the five of us moved and boxed up over 1200 lbs of ice and the helicopters came and picked it up. We were all pretty sore, but we still needed to go up to the tunnel site today and pack up the rest of the ice. We saved all of the big pieces and the ice cores for last. That was some heavy ice. Some of those pieces had to weigh at least 100 lbs. I am pretty sure that I am getting some big muscles. Between chainsawing, shoveling, carrying ice blocks, hiking up and down hills, and lifting and carrying lots of other things, I am going to be buff. It is totally worth all of the hard work, this experience has been amazing.
Besides all of the ice, we also had a lot of other supplies that needed to be packed up from the tunnel site. We had to carry chainsaws, blades, boxes, chaps, helmets, packaging materials, ice breaking tools, etc... In all, we carried about 700lbs of gear up the hill and packaged it up to be slung by helicopter back to McMurdo. The helicopters are so much fun to watch. They swoop in, land anywhere, and then effortlessly carry away hundreds of pounds of gear. Being a helicopter pilot in Antarctica would be an amazing job.