After spending a week
at New Harbor I boarded another helicopter and traveled further into the
Taylor Valley, which is one of the Dry Valleys of Antarctica. I flew
to Lake Hoare where I meet up with the McMurdo
Dry Valley LTER (long term ecological research) Stream Team.
The pair of guys that make up the Stream Team have one of the sweetest
deals on the continent. They get to spend their summer season hiking
the Dry Valleys visiting streams and maintaining gauges to monitor the
flow of water.
Sometimes the streams they have
to visit are too far to hike, so often they're required to take helicopter
rides over quite possibly the most beautiful scenery in the world.
The basic idea behind their work is to provide annual data on the amount
of water melting from glaciers and flowing in streams into the frozen lakes
in the valleys.
Over the week working with Chris
and Lee, the lucky two who form the Stream Team, I got to hike over the
Canada Glacier, hike around both Lake Hoare and Lake Frixel, and travel
via helicopter to the Wright Valley were I got to see the Onyx River and
The entire week was awesome and
so far a definite highlight of my trip to Antarctica. And as if working
in the Dry Valleys couldn't get any better, the camp manager, Rae, at Lake
Hoare, the camp where we spent most of our time, was a fabulous host and
an even better cook. One testament to Rae's awesome cooking ability
was her Thanksgiving dinner that we hosted at the field camp. For
Thanksgiving dinner not only did we have the couple residents of Lake Hoare,
but we also had the New Harbor crew join us along with other LTER members
working in the Taylor Valley and even a couple pilots stopped in.
Everything from the people to
the scenery in the Dry Valleys was awesome. I was disappointed I
had to leave, but my departure was inevitable as there are other parts
of Antarctica I still have yet to see.