December – Part Three – Why, hello 32! Birthday Part One

December 16, 2013.

Ah, my birthday.

The day I finally hiked Ob Hill.
The only day of the week that I was able to walk normally due to incredibly sore legs after said hike.

I started out my birthday at the fire house. At two minutes after midnight, I received what I would consider my first birthday present, a call to dispatch the guys on. Yes, I am a horribly wicked woman. I love waking up the kids in the middle of the night. Especially when I was getting out of work early.

Due to holidays, skipping meal breaks, and coming in on my off time, I was able to cut out of work and around 12:30. Once Cindy, a fellow dispatcher, came in from getting her mid-rats meal, I went home to change and grab my camera. I stopped off in the galley for a sandwich to take on my hike as well. My original plan was to be on top of Ob Hill at 04:02 AM. Why? 04:02 am is the actual time of my birth. Yes, I know I’m in a completely different time zone and that I was planning on being up there 18 hours before 04:02 am on the east coast, but c’est la vie.

So, after going to my room, changing and opening up my birthday gift from Rick and one of my gifts from Aunt Victoria, I had my bag loaded and was ready to tackle the hill.

I headed up the road and was shortly at the point I had reached before, but never went past.

I took a moment to look around at the town which was quietly sleeping, for the most part. The sky was a stunning shade of blue and a few wispy clouds swept their way across the azure.

I turned the opposite direction towards Castle Rock and Mt. Erebus and saw fog rolling in. The base of Castle Rock was obscured, as was part of our most active volcano.

Oh, I haven’t mentioned it before? We live pretty darn close to Mt. Erebus, the southernmost active volcano in the world.

Right, next it was onward and upward.

My next stop was at the podium where the guest log book was SUPPOSED to be located, however, due to constant weather changes, the box it lives in was being replaced and there was no book on the podium. This means I’m going to have to climb the hill again so I can sign it.

As I got closer to the top, I kept staring at the cross and trying to figure out how much longer it would be to get there. It reminded me of being in New Zealand with Rick, hiking Mt. Sinclair and him reassuring me “it’s only 30 minutes before we get to the top” even though the summit looked DAYS away.

Remember, I’m from the flatlands, I don’t do up very often.

Then I reached a point in the path that divided. One trail went to the left, the other to the right. The problem I had was, I couldn’t see the cross any more. I wasn’t exactly sure which way to go. So I took the path to the left.

Then I discovered I chose poorly.

I was standing in front of a pretty steep incline with no more trail upwards. There was a part that lead around to the back side of the hill, but I know that I am a rather clumsy individual, and it would not be wise for me to attempt that trail. I backtracked to where the path divided, and headed up the other path.

Lo and behold, there was the cross, the summit and the view. And the wind.

The windchill kept me from staying at the summit until my goal time of 04:02, but it was still a glorious view!

After I got chilled, I started down the hill. My legs were all wobbly and at one point I slipped on a rock and landed on another rock. I knew at that point that I would have a bruise on my hind-end.

I finished the traverse down the hill, happily singing Happy Birthday to myself to help stay warm.

When I got back to the room, I was exhausted and sweaty. I called Rick to thank him for my gift and to chat for a bit before passing out.

I needed my beauty sleep. After all, my birthday soiree was later that evening.

A view from the top
A view from the top
View from the top, again
View from the top, again
Proof that I was there!
Proof that I was there!
Peaking around from my hiding spot
Peaking around from my hiding spot
Ob Hill Cross
Ob Hill Cross
Beautiful birthday morning
Beautiful birthday morning

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Castle Rock and Mt. Erebus
Castle Rock and Mt. Erebus

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Castle Rock, shrouded in fog
Castle Rock, shrouded in fog

December 2013, part two – Fire Expo

Dec. 07, 2013

Ah, the annual firehouse expo. This year it featured engine rides, trying out on the bunker gear, 5 alarm chili, and putting out a building fire. Okay, so the building and the fire were props, but it was still fun for those who gave it a whirl. I stood outside with the folks playing with the oversized water-hose and took a bunch of pictures of them. Surprisingly, I didn’t get sprayed until the very last person.

Or should I say thankfully.

Again, pictures to come.

A December Condiment – aka catch up time

Almost on the home stretch
Almost on the home stretch

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A cloudy yet pretty day
A cloudy yet pretty day
Wasn't climbing to the top this day
Wasn’t climbing to the top this day
John, a firefighter
John, a firefighter

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Pressure Ridge on the back side of Ob Hill
Pressure Ridge on the back side of Ob Hill
Me
Me

Keri, my coworker
Keri, my coworker
December 2013 – Part one

So much has happened in the past two months. I am having to remind myself of things that have happened via photos.

The end of the year started out much like the beginning of 2013. So many things happened, and quickly.

Dec. 04, 2013

With the weather becoming warmer at the beginning of the month, more outside activities started occurring. During the first week of December, I took a stroll about the Ob Hill Loop with two coworkers, Keri – a dispatcher and John – one of my firefighters. It started out being a lovely day, but the time we were on the back side of the loop, our ears were quite red and probably nearing frostnip status. At least mine were. My first season here, I got a slight case of frostnip on my right ear and am now more prone to it occurring. Despite that, it was still a good walk about.

Ob Hill Loop is probably my favorite recreational route. Due to the wind and fog at the top of the hill, we didn’t go to the top. However, it was that day that I decided if it was clear on the morning of my birthday, I was going to hike that damn hill.

Pictures to come!

47 and a wake up!

Since August 27th, 2011, I have spent 752 days in Antarctica.

I now have 47 days and a wake up left in the season.

I will have been here for 385 days if I leave here as scheduled on February 24th.

That means, I will have been on ice for a total of 800 days since August 2011 by the time I leave.

And now, I will begin the long task of catching everyone up on what has been happening since November.