Conquered Castle Rock!

Alex on the road to Castle Rock, which is the tall dark rock in the middle.  You can also see Mount Erebus to the left in the background.

While we’ve been delayed here in McMurdo due to the C-17 breakdown, Alex and I had the opportunity to try the Castle Rock climb again after having to abort the journey a couple days ago. This time – – success!! The rec office was closed when we started out after the super bowl (go Chiefs!!) so we hiked instead of biked the three miles to Castle Rock. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and the midnight sun was perfect for pictures. When we arrived, we scrambled to the top and got some amazing views!

Alex looking up at Castle Rock.

We made it! Selfie from the top with Erebus in the background.

We’ve also been going on some more casual hikes around McMurdo; a couple days ago we walked around Ob Hill with the goal to see some animals (my family calls these “critter walks”). Just five minutes after starting the walk, we came right up on a penguin that was within maybe ten feet of us! The bird just stared at us then turned back around. It was pretty surreal to be that close and have the penguin be unaffected by our presence. While on the walk we also got to see a minke whale up close. The whale was swimming in an open channel of water right next to Ob Hill. And finally towards the end of the walk, we saw a group of penguins that were hustling across the ice and squawking the whole way. I’d say it was a successful critter walk!

Penguins cruising around on the sea ice, seen from Ob Hill.

All said and done, I think we’ve made great use of our extra time here in Antarctica – which might end today. This morning we had bag drag and are scheduled to leave this afternoon on a C-130. But since there is such an overabundance of people trying to get off the ice, the flights are all overbooked. Depending on the plane’s allowable cargo load we may or may not make the cut for today’s flight. Luckily we’ve made a lot of friends through the delay process and we have more McMurdo activities to do if we’re here longer.
-Posted by Lauren, who is becoming a pro at Foosball