Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Resting Valley

The intense sun of yesterday has been replaced with a few stray snowflakes and a thick ceiling of clouds. There are three of us alone in camp. Me, Rae-the camp manager, and Heidi- the assistant camp manager. Stranded, no helicopters will buzz overhead dropping beakers (scientist) along the Taylor Valley. I feel remote. (Minus the email- and this feeling would be amplified). Rae made crepes more delicate than any restaurant for breakfast, and we had steamed milk with our coffee...a good way to spend a gray morning.

The assistant camp manager Heidi is helping me sample today. We are leaving camp every 2 hours for a total of 12 hours to sample Andersen Creek above the stream gauge (pictured below), this is just 20 feet from my tent and slightly more from the comfort of the main kitchen building. We all laugh every time the big white clean suits zip over our clothes... they are remniscent of the Stay-Puff marshmellow man from ghostbusters..

I would rather get samples today than wait. You can never count on the weather getting better in this place, although, I do have high hopes that tomorrow will be blisteringly sunny and the surface of Canada Glacier will begin to seep, meriting a climb around on the glacier, collecting its melt to determine if the pollution we produce in the industrialized world is contaminating its blood.

The sun expands the valley, stretching it far to the sea and into the iceshelf, on sunny days the valley is endless and the peaks of mountains unreachably high, bracketing our camp in their sturdiness. Protecting one side of rocks from racing winds, yet leaving other sides exposed, to whittle down into body forms, perhaps giving the rocks attitudes to walk themselves slowly out the valley over the course of millions of years. It is during these gray days that the rocks and people take their naps.


Mary Conlin-Warner said...

Greetings, Jackie Alberg passed this site on to me. I am going to forward it to the Science department at Murray Junior High. I am hoping that some students will get interested in this activity and e-mail you back. This is so exciting to see and hear about.

Anonymous said...


I'd be happy to answer any questions-