|My first views of Antarctica from the window of the contracted Australian Antarctic Program's Airbus A-319.|
A year ago today I arrived in Antarctica and it has been a pretty crazy year. I’ve learned a lot about myself and a lot about Antarctica. I’ve been introduced to dynamic people and weather and ice like I never could have guessed existed. When I arrived here I was excited to be living in one place for four and a half months since that is the longest I’ve spent in one place in years. I never thought that a year after my initial arrive I’d still be here and have almost two months left. I’m really excited for travel in New Zealand, Fiji, the US, South Africa and Turkey over the next six months, but I’ve also realized that I need a home to come back to. Missoula will always be home, but I look forward to the day when I live there (or somewhere else in the mountains of the West) and I don’t get asked how many days or weeks I’m in town for. I don’t want travel and adventure to end: I’ll still guide mountains and come back to Antarctica, but I want a more concrete answer when I’m asked where I live.
|November 2012: Many of my field days during my first few months were spent on the sea ice of McMurdo Sound monitoring cracks and ice thickness. The Barne Glacier is an iconic feature north of Cape Evans that I never get tired of seeing.|
|May 2013: In May the dark started to encapsulate us for most of the day. The moon and a glow on the horizon was the only glimmer in the fading light. While the sun had been down for weeks the reality of the darkness hadn't fully set in yet.|
|June 2013: Although I saw my first auroras in late April the darkness of June allowed us to see them at all hours of the day. This photo was from a late night above McMurdo viewing one of the best displays of the year. The time lapse video from this night is on my Facebook Photography Page.|
|August 2013: August brought lots of change. The sun arrived, the moon and venus and nacreous clouds put on an amazing one-night-only display and many new people arrived on station. It was both scary and a welcome awakening.|
I don’t know what I’m going to feel like when I leave here. I don’t know if I’ll remember how to shop for groceries or cook or even how to digest a real vegetable for that matter! It’ll come back just like riding a bike I suppose. The first few days after I arrive back in New Zealand in late November I just want to sleep and feel hydrated after living in the driest desert and eat real food and see and here animals and sounds besides just diesel engines and smell and feel plants that only exist in my mind now. A year ago one of my coworkers told me to take care of myself because it is a long (4-5 month) season. That was a year ago.