Jay (brian1789) wrote,

Obs Hill and the NBPalmer

Given an unexpected extended stay in McMurdo, and good weather (teens, light winds, some sun) I decided to make use of my time for some new experiences. Last night (Saturday) I didn't socialize much… hung around various groups, didn't stay up late. So I was up early enough to sign up at 9am to tour the RVIB Nathan B. Palmer, an NSF ocean-going research vessel that is here in port until tomorrow.

(Going on board this evening, I couldn't help but think of the similarities and contrasts with geekchick boarding her ship for JoCoCruiseCrazy, today. )

We saw the laboratories, wet and dry labs, instrument rooms, help deck and LN2 plant, galley and lounge and living quarters… two bunk beds in a tiny stateroom, each. Walked inside and outside around the bridge. It was a new experience, having been on research aircraft and ground vehicles, previously.

Yesterday I went to transport wearing a blue "I went to Antarctica and all I got was this skua shirt" T-shirt… then was bumped… and ended up at Skua Central looking for a towel and hiking boots (mine were in checked bags, all I had was my carryon to last 3 days). I also found a good hat.

This enabled me to hike today… I climbed Observation Hill, towering 750 feet over McMurdo on the southeast. It was about 1.5 miles, but up steep switchbacks with loose gravelly soil and rocks. And that was the *easy* section, the last vertical 200 feet had a couple of 50-foot sections where I had to climb, up something like a 45-degree angle, going between handholds. There were icy patches where I climbed because the ice sheet on the trail looked *more* dangerous. Given the drop-offs alongside. I made it all the way to the top, alone on the mountain, stopping periodically to breathe and re-orient myself… spectacular views. And the memorial cross to those who perished in Scott's 1912 expedition here. I sang a couple of stanzas of "Amazing Grace" there, echoing in the wind.

I did it in just over an hour, plus 15 minutes stop to find a geocache part way up. I may be hard on my body sometimes… look at myself as overweight, receding hair, middle-aged… but it still works really well, with stamina and power and strength. And nimbleness and grace. So I should go easier on my body, it still rocks. And goes up rocks. :-)
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