We would be leaving Summit Station today! We woke up and packed up our bags. Our packs needed to be loaded and put on the sled. We also wanted to be in the Big House for breakfast before 8:00 so we wouldn’t interrupt the morning meeting where the day is outlined and each crew member and scientist group gives their updated progress report and what they would doing for the day.
Our group also gave the crew a big thank you for our stay and a student from each of our countries gave a message of gratitude in their native language. So we had a message in Greenlandic, Danish, and English. It was well received and everyone settled into preparations for the incoming flight scheduled for late morning. This would be our ride back to Kanger along with 16 other workers and scientists leaving Summit.
After we were packed up and ready, we played card games, read, and snacked while we waited for the plane to arrive. Kathy, the camp cook, even prepared an early lunch of leftovers and sandwich fixings. We heard the announcement that the plane was 10 minutes out and everyone gathered belongings, waiting for the word to go to the loading point.
The plane came in and we watched in outside groups and from the windows in the Big House. The plane seemed to touch down toward the end of the three-mile long ski-way. Then we heard the unbelievable message on the radio, the plane was stuck in the snow. This had happened on our incoming flight as well and is actually a rare event. So it was extremely unusual to have this happen on two consecutive flights!
The dig-out started with plane crew-members and Summit Station personnel. Shoveling out a C-130 from deep snow is no small feat, especially with people who have not had a chance to get acclimated to the high altitude. They worked for hours trying to get the plane free; it had gone off the soft edge of the runway as it turned around. Meanwhile in the Big House, we played games, read, napped, and visited while we waited.
Shortly after 5:00, we got word that the plane was out and it was a wait to see if the plane could take off in the weather. The winds had kicked up and the visibility was an issue. We waited for that decision as the cargo and some fuel were off loaded.
We got the happy news - we were going to load and head back to Kanger. Showers were in our heads and we were excited that now might happen. Also with the plane crew and incoming scientists that were on the flight, it would have meant a 64-member slumber party at Summit, which is designed for half that number. We had pushed the limit with 48 people during our visit. Everyone had pitched in and it had worked out well, but the crew was probably ready for a little more elbow-room.
We took off at 6:20 and were back in Kanger by 8:00. We left a white, icy world and got off the plane to a brown and green landscape with sunny skies and a warmer temperature. Everyone loaded into the shuttle bus and they took us back to our dorm. We went into the building and started taking turns with showers. Our bags were delivered and we sorted out our personal belongings and prepared the bags with our arctic gear to send back to the warehouse
We headed back to the Polar Bear Inn for dinner, our old stand-by. We were missing Kathy’s cooking back at Summit. The food as well as the experiences had been incredible. It had been an exciting day!
Weather at Summit at 9:05 A.M.
-12 degrees Celsius (10 degrees Fahrenheit)
Winds 15 knots, 45 degrees NE
Air Pressure: 677 mb