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Yesterday we did our last bit of science – we picked up the HOBO to finally bring it back to the lab. Rebecca, Liz, Daksha and I said goodbye to the glacier for the last time! It was fitting that the waves and wind were pretty strong on the way back, so we had a bumpy wet ride for our last ride out there.

Last night we held one final webinar for PolarTREC. I continue to be impressed by how clearly the REU students are able to communicate about their research. While I have learned so much from Ross and Julie, I have also learned a great deal from the students.

webinarDaksha talking during last night's webinar

Then today was packing day. We have to ship just about everything back to the States. So we all pitched and spent the day loading up boxes, taping them up and listing what's in each box. (I even had to inventory the little collection of rocks that I picked up during my time here in Ny Ålesund.)

packingRachel carefully packs up the core samples for transport back to the U.S.

Packing up I paused to think about the fact that we are simply doing in reverse what we did when we unpacked four short weeks ago. But although the time has flown by, it seems strangely like another lifetime ago - the experience of being here has been so consuming that it's hard to get much perspective on time!

packingLiz packing up her sediment samples. She needs to list each sample on a spreadsheet in case customs agents want to look through the boxes.

Since we managed to get most things packed up efficiently, after lunch we all decided to take a hike up to the glacier behind Zeppelin Mountain. It was a nice hike over a bunch of glacial features, and it was interesting to see the glacier that I had only seen from the top of Zeppelin Mountain. It was quite a warm day here (54º!), sunny with no wind. It felt positively summerlike!

Vestre Lovenbreen glacierOn our afternoon hike out to the Vestre Lovenbreen glacier behind Zeppelin Mountain. We are all standing on the a large moraine left behind by that glacier.

Standing on the Vestre Lovenbreen glacier.Standing on the Vestre Lovenbreen glacier.

Tomorrow will be our last full day in Ny Ålesund. We'll finish packing all the science equipment up, plus our own stuff, and then we're off to Longyearbyen on Thursday.

If you've been reading my journals all along, you know how amazing this experience has been for me personally. I'm glad that I'll have a couple of days in Longyearbyen to reflect on the experience, and to begin planning how I will communicate the science and the adventure to others! Vestre Lovenbreen glacierRoss, Julie and I on the Vestre Lovenbreen glacier with Kongsfjorden in the background