Hut Point Loop Trail

From left to right – Scott and Juliane on top of the Hut Point Loop Trail ridge. So windy and cold but equally as fun!

Trail going up and following the ridge of the mountain.

Panorama view of McMurdo (left-middle) and Hut Point with Discovery Hut (right) from the trail ton top of the ridge.

This day today greeted us with a temperature drop to -11C. Still a lot warmer than what we had experienced in the deep field but without our protective gear we did feel the icy wind cutting into our faces quite a bit. We spent most of the morning with some work related to organizational things and in the afternoon we decided to hike the Hut Point Loop Trail. We had tried 2 days ago already but at that time the wind was gusting at 40 knots and we hardly had made it up to the beginning of the trail towards the ridge when we decided to turn around again. The wind was going to blow us over the ridge with ease and it goes steep down into the frozen icy sea, not something we wanted to experience. So today the gusty wind was down to 25-30 knots. Granted, we had to deal with all the snow on the ground instead that fell yesterday but according to the weather report things here are supposed to get worse again later tonight so we wanted to seize the opportunity of the slightly better condition and finally hike this trail. And we did made it all the way up onto the ridge and around the mountain and finished the trail. During the hike though, we felt like we were back in the deep field with blowing snow snakes slithering over the ground and down the icy ridges and howling winds ripping on our clothes, making our eyes tear up, producing snotcicles, and freezing my hair. And some of the snow drifts we had to cross were so deep that we sank up to our knees into the snow. We were glad for our ECW gear and had a lot of fun, we loved every minute of the hike (I especially loved the deep snow drifts). In the end we were rewarded with great views of McMurdo and Hut Point with Discovery Hut. Minke whales have been sighted again in the open water patches that the departing science vessel left behind but none of us got lucky today to see one. Maybe tomorrow. Now it is almost time for “Settlers of Catan” game night in the Coffee House. Barb is very excited and we are all looking forward to a fun night.

Juliane, McMurdo Station, Antarctica, Jan. 23rd at 7:40pm.