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Date:   November 14, 2006
Location:   Taylor Dome
Latitude:  77 degrees, 47 minutes South
Longitude:  158 degrees, 43 minutes East
Temperature:  −40°C (−40°F)
Wind Speed:   15 knots
Wind Chill:  −58°C (−72°F)
Elevation:  2,365 meters (7,759 feet)
Written by:   Lora

To Taylor Dome

This morning Andrei, Brian, Mike, Joe and I boarded a LC–130 to Taylor Dome.  The flight was a bit bumpy but very beautiful.  We flew up Blue Glacier and through the Transantarctic mountains on the way to Taylor Dome.  We all took turns going up into the cockpit of the plane where the view was spectacular.

The plane landed and combat off loaded our gear.  Combat off loading is when the ramp at the tail end of the plane is opened and the cargo pallets pushed out the back of the plane while it is moving.  After the gear was unloaded, we were allowed to leave the plane, also out the back ramp. 

Taylor Dome is much colder and windier than McMurdo.  We all immediately put on an extra layer of clothing and our facemasks.  A facemask keep your nose and cheeks form freezing. 

At Taylor Dome we rejoined our cook, Cathy and met our Camp Managerand head Mechanic, Rick Schneider, and Mechanic, Josh.Swanson.  Rick is from Alaska and has already traveled to the North Pole.  He is excited to be heading to the South Pole.  Josh is from Minnesota.  It is his 8th season in Antarctica.  There are others here at Taylor dome as well.  Paul Kyllonen is a mechanic helping to get our tractors ready for the traverse.  Five carpenters left when we arrived.  They had been digging out our shelters and tractors and fixing anything that needed to be fixed.  They worked hard and got our equipment ready so we can load our gear and start our science. There is also another camp next door. with a crew that is removing gear left at Taylor Dome from a previous drilling project.  

We spent the day acclimating to the high altitude at Taylor Dome, about 8000 feet, and unloading the pallets.  We also got to see our new living quarters.  There is the Blue Room that has a workbench and 8 beds, the Kitchen with 2 beds and the cooking area, the mechanics shelter, the New Room, with 4 beds and tools.  There are also 5 other big sleds that will carry our gear, a pisten bully which looks like a snow groomer from a ski area, and two caterpillar tractors that will pull the sleds. 

Cathy made us all feel right at home in the evening with a wonderful meal.  She warmed us all up with scallops, vegetables, rice and strawberry cheesecake.  We are all going to eat well on this trip.