With the cryostat pumpout proceeding routinely, a few of us decided to take a day off while we had the chance. Michele and Britt wanted to ski the so-called Cape Armitage loop that goes around the peninsula on which McMurdo base sits to Scott Base, the Kiwi encampment on the other side (and that we pass by every day on the way to LDB). Chappy, Joy, and I decided to hike out to Castle Rock, one of the prominent features on the landscape near McMurdo.
Before that, though, I slept -- I slept until nearly 10:30AM, got a quick breakfast, went to the gym, and then met up with Chappy and Joy at lunch where we planned our departure from McMurdo for around 2:15PM. I then went back to my room to pack up the necessary equipment, including most of my ECW gear as it's strongly suggested to take it along in case one gets caught in inclement weather. We then filed our trip plan and checked out at the Firehouse where we received our 2-way radio, setting a deadline of 7:15PM before they would start emergency search and rescue operations in motion if they hadn't heard from us.
The weather was great for the hike -- clear and sunny, with a persistent but relatively mild wind the entire time. The hike is about 3.5 miles each way, and offered stunning views both over McMurdo and in both directions over the ice shelf, one of which is usually obscured by the ridge that we were hiking along. There's really not much I can say about this -- I'll let the pictures do the talking.
We got back in town by 6PM, checked back in at the Firehouse, and managed to meet Ivan the TerraBus right as they were arriving back in town from LDB. Then dinner, Antarctica Trivia Night at one of the pubs (at which we did extremely poorly, knowing nearly nothing about Antarctica), and then sleep.