Posted by Cricket
Date: 22 September 2010
Temperature: -16 C
Wind Speed: 40 knots
Temp with wind chill: -43C
On one clear and calm Sunday morning, several of us from New Zealand's Scott Base geared up with food and clothing, piled into the Hagglund and headed to Cape Evans for a day visit. Cape Evans is the site of R.F Scott’s Terra Nova Hut, which was built in January 1911 as a base camp for his second and last Antarctic tour. A lot of incredible stories come from this expedition, including Edward Wilson’s winter trek with two other men to an Emperor penguin colony at Cape Crozier and Scott’s attainment of the South Pole. Unfortunately, Scott and his men all perished on the return.
It was a two hour trip that took us out over the sea ice and following the coast of Ross Island. Due to a huge glacier in our path, we stopped short of the site and hiked the rest of the way in, taking the route that Scott’s men would have traversed.
Windvane Hill © AHT/Cricket
Our first look at the camp was from high up on Windvane Hill, where a cross stands commemorating 3 members of Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914-1916) who died in the vicinity in 1916. We then hiked down and around the hut, admiring what a picturesque and well situated spot it is. Finally, we unlocked the hut door and slowly stepped into the dim interior. What a magnificent sight. As I have often heard, it really does retain the remarkable feeling of Scott’s men having just stepped out.
We quietly worked through the hut, studying the long, well-photographed dinner table, the bunks with handwriten notes and pictures drawn on the boards, and the galley stacked with jars and tins of food. Without discussion, both Diana and I refrained from taking any pictures. When talking about it afterwards, we found that we both wanted only the memory of our first visit.