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Stauchy Blog » Blog Archive » The Constellation and the McMurdo Marathon – Sunday, January 21st (LAS & JRS)

The Constellation and the McMurdo Marathon – Sunday, January 21st (LAS & JRS)


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At 0100, we had planned on joining the night-crew trip that the rec department was doing to the constellation, a fallen plane. As I had told Jason before, I needed to stay up if I was going. Since the party was weak and i didn’t stay up, I didn’t go. Jason met Karthik at 0100 for the trip.  For more, higher-res pictures, see our gallery: R&R Days 5-8.

(following segment by JRS) It turned out that there were only three people who showed up for the tour, plus the two guides. A Delta was waiting for us in front of 155. Karthik and I jumped in front with the driver, and the other tourist and guide jumped in the back. We drove off towards Willy Field (where we flew in to). After getting on to the sea ice, but before getting to Willy Field, we took a right and drove off in the direction of Pegasus Field, which is where the C-17s, heading to and from Cheech, take off and land. I had heard that some penguins had been spotted at Pegasus, so that was the real reason that I wanted to do the tour. But, no such luck. The Constellation, which had crash landed back in the 50s, was about 5 minutes past Pegasus field. It’s a relatively small plane, about the size of a small commercial commuter prop plane. The wings were totally buried in ice, and the inside had been filled with snow. The top half of the body and the tail were still above the ice. The tail was not a conventional tail, with the horizontal tail coming directly out of the fuseloge, and the horizontal tail consisted of two components, coming out of each end of the horizontal tail. It’s a pretty cool looking configuration.

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Overall, it was a bit of a disappointing trip. The closest thing that we found to wildlife was some penguin feathers near the plane. I guess I’m glad that I went, because the plane was kind of fun to see. Also, the sun was down very close to the horizon, although it wasn’t quite late enough in the season to set. But, the low sun, combined with the clouds made for some nice picture opportunities. On our way back, Mount Erebus was starting to get lit up by the sun. It was also fun to talk to the driver, who had spent several summers at the Pole before deciding this year to give MacTown a try. We returned at about 0400, and I crawled in bed to get some sleep. (end JRS)
At 1030, I got Jason up for brunch. We ran into Bob who decided to join us on the trek out to cheer on folks who were in the race. Kris was skiing the full marathon, Emrys was skiing the half marathon, Amber and Curtis (the GA from Pole who won the race around the world) were running the full marathon.
After brunch, Bob, Jason, and l took the 1130 shuttle to finish line and walked backwards of route. The weather was absolutely miserable out on the route. It was very cold and windy. I can’t imagine running a marathon in that. We watched Emrys and Kris ski there way in and then we saw Curtis run through. He won the full marathon foot race in a time of 3h37min.

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We hung out at the finish line for a bit and then started our way back to the station. With all the race finishers, Jason and I thought we should leave the few shuttle seats available to those guys and started the walk back. We did see some really cool views of the mountains on our return.
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We decided to go to open volleyball Sunday. Jason and I played with other randoms who had shown up. We played 4 on 3 and had a pretty good time. After volleyball, we did some laundry, packing and general clean-up to get ready for tomorrow. We then met Rebecca (a friend we met on the way down from Denver – and hung out with in CHC) for dinner and caught up a bit. We had to leave early in order to bag drag.
We packed all of our gear and got up there for the final weigh-ins. The guy asked to see our boots. I asked if he could just add 3pounds to our weight as we were planning to hike out to hut point with friends and didn’t want to drag them up. He insisted. I assured him that we would not go to Pole for the winter without them and we had weighed in before without having them. I assured him we would wear them in the morning. He insisted again. With that, Jason and I jogged to our room and carried the boots back for weigh-in and then carried them back to our room again. OY! Where is the cool chick working weigh-in that we had early in the season?
Once our stuff was back in our room, we walked out to hut point for one last attempt to see some wildlife. As usual, it was extremely windy up there, but also as usual, the view was pretty spectacular, highlighted by a relatively low sun and some fantastic cloud formations. As were growing tired of the search, I saw a seal out in the distance. He was close enough to be more than just a spot. We watched him swim around a bit. Then, someone saw a leopard seal right at the base of where we were standing. He definitely watched us a bit as he swam around before turning off.

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By now, I was pretty chilly and started the walk back to 155. Most of the crew left right about now, but a few stayed to watch the seal. We watched the last 10 minutes of Ghostbusters 2, collected everyone’s “leftover” alcohol and headed for the lounge upstairs. We hung out with some McMurdo friends and all the Polies before noticing that we were all hungry and midrats would be available by now. We got some grub and each headed off to bed.
-LAS

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