journal tabs

Kevin Dickerson's picture

Today started off for me with a hike, at about midnight, up on the mountainside above camp. There are several beautiful glaciers up above camp that I was aiming for. Also, an area I had heard about called, "The Rock Garden". I grabbed a radio, so I could check in to camp at regular intervals, and headed up the mountain. The scenery was spectacular! Some of the most unique boulders I have ever seen. The glacier was also spectacular. It really made me feel very small when I walked up to it. I turned my GoPro on and did a time warp video on my run back down to camp. This was around 1am this morning. Great way to start a day. The scenery goes by fast, thus the name "time warp", so if you see something you'd like a closer look at, just push pause and check it out. Looking at the boulders will easily convince you of the power behind Antarctica's weather. Powerful katabatic winds rip through these valleys. They start from the South Pole, almost 10,000 feet above these valleys. The cold, dense air races downhill at speeds well over 200 mph. These winds pick up sand and blast these holes into these boulders.

Hike To Blood Falls

After returning from my hike to the glacier above camp, and the Rock Garden area, at about 1am, I got a few hours of sleep and woke up ready to fly out to McMurdo. Weather closed in and we got word that all flights were cancelled. I was not sad. That meant another hike could be done. One of the Dry Valley's best sites was within hiking distance from the Lake Bonney Camp. It is called Blood Falls.

Blood FallsBlood Falls. Blood Falls is at the toe of the Taylor Glacier, where it dumps into Lake Bonney. Under Taylor Glacier (subglacial) is a massive amount of very briny (salty) solution. That brine solution, which also has iron dissolved in it, gets pushed out of the glacier at that location. As soon as the solution hits the air, it oxidizes (rusts), which gives it that distinct blood color.

Blood FallsI had to cross about a half-mile of this rough lake ice to get to, and from Blood Falls. It was worth it.

Shoutout To American Fork Jr. High Science Students.

My class flagThis flag of Antarctica was signed with well-wishes from my students back home in American Fork, Utah.

Origami Utah Penguins

Penguin OrigamiVisiting Utah Penguin.

Utah Penguin.

Utah Penguins.

Check back tomorrow to find out if the weather breaks so we can get out of the Dry Valleys and back to McMurdo.

Want to ask a question or leave a comment? Email me at: kdickerson [at]


Add new comment

Ryatt Price's picture

Ryatt Price said:

Does the quiet ever bug you? Or is it peaceful? Does the moat exist because the land retains more heat, and thus melts the ice? What's the protocol if someone slips through the ice?
Kevin Dickerson's picture

Kevin Dickerson replied:

Ryatt. The quiet is strange sometimes. I keep thinking I will hear wind blowing through the trees (no trees), or birds chirping (no birds). Of course when the wind is really blowing it is heard, but other than that, silence. Every once in a while, a helicopter can be heard. McMurdo is different. There is always the sound of generators there. No silence to be found at the station. It is very nice to sleep when there is no sound. Yes, the darker colored soil warms up when the Sun shines on it. Remember, the Sun is always up for 5 months. There are also little streams that come from melting glaciers that run into the lakes that could melt the edge of the lake ice. We have fun using the moat boat to get across when the ice is thin. We have lifejackets and throw-bags in case someone pops through the ice. We have to be real careful about that. Going through this ice with our heavy boots, fully clothed, and wearing a backpack could have bad consequences.