Next time wake me up before you take the tent down, please.

In just over a week we will head out into the field with a group of geologists, leaving behind the comforts and stresses of McMurdo life to embark on what I suspect will be much more of an Antarctic adventure than our experience to date. Yes, we occasionally venture out onto the sea ice and drive around in bizarre little tracked vehicles and get frost in our balaclavas, huddling in the wind with thermoses of tea and munching chocolate bars, but at the end of the day we always return to a hot starchy meal in the corporate-retreat style dining hall and sack out in dorm rooms overheated by the glycol endlessly coursing through the radiators. In the Olympus range we won't have any heat and will only run an electric generator when it is absolutely necessary to recharge the batteries for the camera and sound equipment. We are hoping that will only be once a week or so. Some passive solar gain is to be expected in the tents, but the idea that we will never be going into a building to properly warm ourselves up makes for a radical shift.

"Now you just scoop it out." Bija demonstrates how to perform a lobotomy on a Winfly veteran traumatized by the massive influx of giggling summer visitors to McMurdo. Photo: Anne Aghion

We have therefore been spending some time lately at the Berg Field Center, where a crew of earnest, cheerful outdoorspersons of the sort one often meets on the sales floor at EMS or Paragon have been helping us check out our gear. A couple days ago we set up our "Endurance" tent inside their facility. It is a large ribbed structure, sixteen by eight feet. It wasn't particularly difficult to set up in the windless comfort of the seventy degrees warm BFC, and will doubtless be an endless nightmare in mittens and thirty knot winds. I was exhausted to begin with and tried to catch a nap once we had the thing up. Everyone else got out of the tent and I just lay there until the others took it down again and discovered me.

The operation was a success! The patient, in recovery. Photo: Anne Aghion


Anonymous said...

Is lobotomized preferable to traumatized? Sincerely hoping you will not be cast as the guinea pig to learn the answer to this question.
ever your loving M

Anonymous said...

You are clearly fine in the tent gear, having fun with camping, Ya, I spent my day with a German who makes DVD packaging machines for Brazilians, Saudi Arabians, Japanese, Chinese, Australians, et al. and I´m not embarrassed to say it -- because we are a closed community of Richard watchers. So, Mister Lazy Camper, you watch out while your fora do ar, because we're going to be waiting for your next post. Much love to you, and to anyone who has the luck to read this. Your brother.