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Stauchy Blog » Blog Archive » The Castle Rock Loop - Thursday, Jan 18 (LAS)

The Castle Rock Loop - Thursday, Jan 18 (LAS)


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I was up and out for my dental cleaning at 0900. Jason had an appointment at 1000. Since I was done before the hour was up, I woke up Jason and he went over to see the dentist early. We were supposed to meet karthik and terry for castle rock loop at 1100. I met Karthik and Emrys in the hall and noone had seen Jason. Emrys informed us that Kris (the met guy for the summer/waste guy for the winter) had started skiing the Castle Rock Loop Trail at 0800. Emrys had done the first lap with him, but that was it so far. Kris was trying to set a record for the most number of laps skied around the loop in one day (crozz-country). Unfortunately, the trail was half-melted, so there were portions that he had to doff the ski’s and hike in the cross-country boots. For higher resolution pictures, see the gallery: R&R Day 4
Jason was back from the dentist at 1115 and we all grabbed a quick lunch and fixed some sandwiches for the hike before heading over to the firehouse to check-out a radio. We were hoping to meet Kris somewhere on the trail and cheer him on while checking out the scenes, as well.
Today is a bit of a windy day. I borrowed Emrys’ windbreaker for the hike. We got to the firehouse at 1330. The girl who was working dispatch was pretty excited about the windbreaker. She had seen one earlier in the season and made an on-line purchase of one recently. She borrowed the jacket for a quick fitting and we chatted for a bit before heading out.
Emrys had mislead us a bit as to the location of the trailhead for the castle rock loop. We eventually found the proper path and were finally on our way. I started wondering if we should change our expected completion time since we had a long start. That’s when I realized that the firehouse dispatch had never given us a radio when we checked out for the hike. There was so much discussion of the jacket, that she forgot to check one out and none of us thought of it.
We circled back to the firehouse and got a radio. It was now around 1415 and we were finally on our way on the right trailhead. Once we got out of the dirt and dust of Mactown, it was a beautiful hike. We stopped at the warming/emergency huts for a peak and signed the book in the first one.

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We continued the hike up to castle rock and scampered up to a nice look-out point off the back side of the channel/open water. This was a beautiful, out of the wind, spot for a sandwich break. As we were finishing lunch, we saw the US Coast Guard ice breaker making it’s way out of the broken ice channel towards open water. Suddenly, a plane flew out over the plane. It was pretty cool to watch.

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As we walked to the other side of castle rock to continue the hike, we saw Kris up in the distance on skis. He had passed us while we were on the backside of the rock. We continued the walk around Loop over to Scott Base. As we were coming down the hill away from Castle Rock and towards Wiley Field/Scott Base, we came across several crevasses. The larger ones were away from the trail, but visible. There were some small ones near the trail and a couple that crossed the trail. The airfield (Wiley Field) is actually on sea ice and the crevasses are formed on/near the land mass do to crazy movmenets.

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We made it to Scott base (the Kiwi Base) shortly before the gift shop opened. We bought bottle of chardonnay and a couple of chocolate bars.
We decided to wait for the shuttle as it was approaching the end of dinner at the galley (and there is no leftovers fridge and food is removed at 1930 on the dot). We still had 3 miles to go. One of the guys we had met on the Oden waited with us and we chatted for a bit. The first shuttle appeared – and he had room for 1 person. He called on the radio to check the scene for us, there were no shuttle options for quite a while. The three of us decided to stick together and walk the rest – the guy from the Oden joined us for the walk. Jason returned the radio and carried our stuff back to the room and I ran to the galley to try to get some grub for the 3 of us. I looked at the clock as I entered, it was 1932 and all the food was gone.
I looked around for some options and saw Evan. Evan is a dining attendant in McMurdo that was on our same plane from Denver to CHC and CHC to Mactown. The Polies hung out with him quite a bit during our initial travels. I asked if there was any food to spare for some poor Polies who had been screwed by the shuttle service. He directed me to the fridge where all the food had just been placed inside the kitchen and hooked us up.
After dinner, we went for showers and a change of close before heading over for McMurdo’s the Karaoke championship finals at Gallaghers. We had a lot of fun hanging out and watching a lot of the firefighters attempting to sing on stage. With the cycle through of firefighters at Pole this season to man the planes, we had gotten to know quite a few of them. We were there until the bar closed at 11pm and then made our way home to bed.
-LAS

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