I learned something NEW 2 days ago!!! (Actually, I learned a few new things!)
1. I learned how to ski.Rented some cross country skis from Gear Issue. (My friend from Hungary INSISTED I go with her. Now when leave McMurdo to ski on THE SEA ICE, you must check in with the firehouse, give all sorts of info on yourself; room number, etc., and when you will return. They give you a hand held radio and will send out the search & rescue team if you do not call in to report you’re home!!! I love Ildiko, but do not trust her to SAVE me. We had a 3rd person. “Thomas the Sheet Metal Man”. He was appointed our ‘expedition leader’. And I trusted his judgement and ability to get us back – – – alive!
I should also point out that we are getting ‘close’ to closing the sea ice to traffic. I’ve shown you photos of the Discovery Hut location to McMurdo. The ice is closed from that area on north along the coastline due to melting!!! We went south – towards Scott Base!!! The transition from land to sea ice was horrible, mushy, slushy. I tried not to think about falling through. Once a little further away from shore, it was thicker and easier to put the skis on.
2. I learned that 5 miles is a little too far for a beginner. Our original plan was for me to say when it was time to turn around. I was enjoying the VIEW…. the cold was actually a bonus to cut down on SWEATING! Plus, when I would occasionally get the hang of it, I would zoom along for a few feet, then slow down to ‘baby slides’ through the bumpy areas. Before I realized it – the expedition guide hollered from his position WAAAY in the lead… “WE’RE HALF WAY TO SCOTT BASE”. Oh poo. I only meant to go half way to the HALF WAY point! Sink or swim time!!! We continued.
The going was rougher as we neared Scott Base. Ildy took her skis off and walked. I kept mine on – and somehow managed to get through it without falling down! I did several incredible “saves”. (You know, the acrobatic, scrambling, flailing stuff you do to NOT fall down!) I figured if I did fall, the rescue team would have to come and get me up. My legs were plotting – I knew they would never let me walk again if given the briefest reprieve!!!
3. You can get SUNBURNED at night here. This little expedition began after supper. I believe it was 7:30 PM by the time we left the firehouse. My face, mainly cheeks and nose, are a pretty bright red now. I have the ‘raccoon’ look around my eyes where my sunglasses sit! Nice. I look like a REAL Antarctica woman now.
4. Always be friends with a SHUTTLE DRIVER!They are SMART, and know the secrets to getting a ride back from Scott Base! There is no way I would’ve been able to walk – in the ski boots- up and over the mountain back to McMurdo. I could barely climb into the rescue ‘chariot’.
5. You’re never too old to try something new. However, the older you are, the more consequences there will be to over doing it!!!! Every muscle from my lower back down – is mad at me. Oh well. It was fun, and next I will try skiing the 7 miles out to Willy Field!