We may lose and we may win though we will never be here again…
Never is a long time, but I have to believe that the odds I will get back to F6 are very low. Not zero, but low. So, it was with a touch of melancholy that I went about preparing for the day we had to leave the little F6 hut. Today was that day. Rae and Renee came over from Lake Hoare to build sling loads of urine and gray water barrels, waste buckets, and solid waste triwalls. These would be retro’d back to McMurdo. (Retro when used as a verb in Antarctica is short for retrograde, an adjective meaning “moving backward.” “Just retro that pile of junk.” When used as a noun it refers to the waste or surplus that is being retro’d. “Oh, that damned thing is just retro.” There is latitude in spoken English at these extreme latitudes. Penguin Central has a useful, though incomplete dictionary of English as spoken in Antarctica.) We also made a triwall of gear to go back to the BFC, or Crary or Mech, from whence it came. (Posts to come about these places.) The rest of the gear would go with us to Lake Hoare, where we will spend a week before returning to McMurdo.
This past week we spent most of our effort closing our gauges around Lake Fryxell, in the Miers Valley and in the Wright Valley. We still have four gauges to close, which we will do this week from Lake Hoare. Each time I left a gauge I soaked in the views and the feeling of being in this place–I knew there was a good chance I would not be at that spot again. When walking out the door of F6, or walking to a gauge, or returning to camp on the ATV, or going to my tent, I made a point of stopping, to look for a while at the land around me. I wanted to keep the feeling of the place–which is more than can be captured in a photograph or in words.
But, most of all, I feel so exceedingly lucky to have been able to live and work in this place for three months.