Monday, December 25, 2006

A White Christmas

Today is Christmas in McMurdo and we are in the midst of a luxurious two day weekend, and yes, we're having a white christmas. The festivities began on Saturday. The GA's spent all day decorating the VMF (Vehicle Maintenence Facility) with xmas decorations, a place to take pictures with Santa on a snowmobile, an area for a slide show, and in another corner, a spot for swing dancing. The party was a lot of fun - lots of dancing, carrolling, friends and good cheer.

On Christmas Eve we had a wonderful dinner with everyone dressed up. And Christmas day began with the "Up Ob Hill," a race up Observation Hill. It was cold and windy out there this morning and my hands felt like blocks of ice on the way to the summit. Seven minutes and 44 seconds after the call had been given, I arrived at the summit cross, commemorating Scott's lost party. I was the first to arrive and shortly thereafter, GA Ragnar, who took, what now should be called the "Ragnar Direct" route, had arrived. The twenty or so of us all made it to the top and took a group picture. During the picture I was concerned that I was going to throw up and I had to concentrate very hard on the descent. I had not eaten anything, so that I would no thow up but I was feeling quite spent on the way down, and later in the shower, my legs had the shakes. I am fully recovered now, except for my lungs in that when I take a deep breath, I feel like a smoker. Just warming up for the marathon on January 21.

Yes, 26 miles on the ice shelf in one month. I have been training on the ice, cross training by skate skiing. Feeling fit. I've always wanted to do one and figure running on snow has to be better on the knees than pavement. We'll see if I'm ready by race time. Not committed yet, but I'm hoping I feel ready.

In other news, I am off to the Amundsen - Scott South Pole Station after the new year begins. I will be there for 2-3 weeks as they need an extra General Assistant. I am extremely, extremely excited to go to one spot on the plantet, where every direction points to North.

Among my after plans, an attempt of Denali, Mt. McKinely, the highest peak of North America is in the works for this May, with two other NOLS instructors. I am quite excited. Preparations are beginning, the adventures will continue.

I hope everyone has a wonderful christmas time, that the stress level is low and the family and friends are plentiful. All the best from McMurdo.


  1. Merry Christmas, Ben. This is Bob Taraschi.

    Your blog is exiciting to read and from the sounds of it, it reads like you're in your element. We've been having a warmer than expected December but Friday was the beginning of the winter soltice, so there's plenty of time snow.

    I'll write again soon. Have a happpy new year.

    Bob Taraschi

  2. Merry Christmas and Happy 2007 from your CT cousins!
    LOVE following your adventures via blog; keep 'em coming!
    xo the Campbells and Lameres