This bank holiday weekend we managed to get away to the caboose, which although being only 2 km away from the station and barely outside of the perimeter is currently the closest thing to a holiday. In blowing snow and darkness we navigated our way to it, never learning our lesson from last time of bringing a GPS, we managed to follow some tracks we knew were recent heading to our destination. This time we walked while pulling pulks with our gear and so we didn’t have cold feet, as our polar mukluks (or as I call them, moonboots) are greatly superior to the plastic ski boots. As usual we set up the Reflux stove, the Tilley and heated some water on the Primus to warm up basically a leaky tin can from -40 °C to +20 °C while waiting in our down sleeping bags. It was cloudy that night so we went to bed early.
The next day we lazed about, ate cheese and crackers, watched movies, took some photos, read about Scott’s expedition through the eyes of the photographer, Herbert Ponting, and enjoyed the sunset with beer slushy. Dinner consisted of a sliced steak sandwiches with mustard. That night it was beautiful and clear. Probably one of the last times I will see the Milky Way so brightly. Flashes and trails from the many satellites that litter our orbit, as well as the odd shooting star animated the night sky. We could even see the stars through our iced up window. The rest of the evening was spent relighting and extinguishing the Primus and various Tilley lamps to see where some CO was coming from. Eventually, we decided we didn’t need either as the Reflux stove was on and we watched another movie before going to sleep.
The last morning wasn’t as cold and we pottered about the caboose refilling everything, made pancakes for breakfast and then packed to head back to base. There was a low lying fog around the station with slight gusts giving everything a pink hazy glow.
The caboose has been booked up now and I’m not sure people are allowed to sleep offbase once the winter trips start, so this might have been the last time. I just wished we could have stayed longer.