You are joining us in our final days in Barrow, AK. “Stuff hits the fan week” has commenced and all three final coring days are finished. I don’t think that you, dear reader, quite understand the implications of this statement: ALL OF THE ICE-MITT BOXES ARE FULL. We are completely done with the coring portion of our fieldwork. If you need a recap we have cored 33 “successful” cores – 20 of which are in ICE-MITT boxes, 7 of which are isothermal cores, and the remaining 6 have been test cores. This number does not include the many unsuccessful or broken cores that we had to take, often leaving up to six or seven holes in the ground on a particularly inefficient day (so you can just about quadruple that first number).
What I’m trying to say is that this last core is the end of an era! It is the end of six weeks of work (really, I’m getting way too ahead of myself; we still have two more days, reign it in, Ellyn). Though taking our last core on a bluebird day in the Arctic was spectacular and prideful, oh my gosh was it also a little sad. This was the last time I would venture out into the cold openness of the Alaska coastline with the intent of stealing its ice for scientific purposes; the last time that I would flirt with frostbite during a 40 minute snowmobile ride to our south site and go home with frost-nip instead. As it was one of our more efficient coring days (because Natalie Afonina finally arrived!), it all ended too quickly.
What else could we do to lament in our achievements but play on the pack ice blocks? Though, on a higher rung of our achievements recently is the fact that Nelson, our beloved bear-guard, has admitted that of all of the scientists, the ICE-MITT Team is just the most fun. And yes, he did join us in our pack ice gallivanting.