A lot of luck and clear skies brought our LC-130 skiing to a landing on the glacial runway of McMurdo last Tuesday evening around 6PM. It was a great relief after over 4 weeks of hotel isolation. Our cohort of 18 loaded into Ivan the Terribus, a 40 passenger aging wheeled snow vehicle designed for everything but comfort for the trip to the base. Five minutes later we were stuck and spinning multiple wheels from a combination of fresh snow and warm weather. The call went out for a tow, and a friendly bulldozer showed up in front 10 minutes later and pulled us to firmer ground for the 30 minute ride to town.
We checked in, got our room keys and I dumped my bags in a room that looked like the same one as last year, but without a roommate, and headed for the galley for some pizza. Dinner and a shower was all I needed to head to bed by 11.
I spent the first day getting the dental office in shape and started seeing patients before we were rewarded with a 2 day holiday. Hiking and pickleball were top priorities, so I secured the gym for 2 nights a week for pickleball with the rec department. Christmas eve was the first possibility, and one energetic young man showed up to play. He left a bit dejected after failing to beat the old guy but I told him how wonderful it was to run around and sweat a little for the first time in over a month if it was any consolation. I’m hoping some more will show up tomorrow evening to get a group of regular players to burn off all the good food the galley has been serving, especially the pies and tarts.
Yesterday I hiked up to Castle Rock and climbed to the top with Shawn the doc in 15 degree wind chill, which my burning thighs reminded throughout the rest of the afternoon, but it was worth it. Today it’s been pretty quiet and I’ll probably take a stroll down to the water to check for penguins after lunch.
Hope your holidays are quiet and your waistlines are stable.