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Exploring the Dry Valley

Saturday November 28th - Judging by the increasing numbers of people participating in the post-lunch siesta, fatigue had begun to set in by the end of the week. We've had the pleasure to share dinner with our Japanese friends. This warm and friendly moment in the middle of Antarctica turned into an origami contest making paper swans, penguins, elephants and turtles (more or less well-done depending on their maker), which are now decorating the windowsills of the station.

On Sunday, Alain proposed to take the ski-doos out to climb a little mountain nearby and enjoy the nice weather. For the newcomers, including myself, this was the opportunity to try out our specially-designed outfits. They were very efficient; nobody felt cold! We imagined ourselves as Tintin and Captain Haddock in the Tintin adventure, "Explorers on the Moon". We climbed Mount Yukidori-Toride (1750 m), which is where the petrels nest, before heading back to the station through a "dry valley" (so named because of their extremely low humidity and their lack of snow or ice cover) between Vikinghøgda and Wideroefjellet, two major summits of the Sør Rondane Mountain Range. Without the marvelous snow from the beginning of the season, crossing these dry fields covered with lunar stones on a ski-doo would have been impossible. Monday, everybody was back at work with a bright smile on their faces!

Christine Mattel

Author: IPF

Picture: International Polar Foundation - © International Polar Foundation

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