Week 2 at WAIS

Early in the morning on November 18th we had our morning meeting and the camp manager said that the CON 2 blizzard is strengthening and looking more like a CON 1 blizzard. CON 1 is the worst. Zero visibility and strong winds. Normally CON 1 storms are also accompanied by super cold temps. but at WAIS the low pressure, windy storms bring in moisture from the sea.

The camp was advised to take note of where everything and everyone is and to not wander outside of the four large community tent facilities unless the weather conditions improved to where you could at least see a tent 20 yards in front of you.

After our meeting a team went outside and installed the emergency guide lines that connected the four main tents with the outhouses and Tent City.

When the visibility got better I trekked to my tent to see how it was holding up. Below is a pic of me at my front door. It's not a big deal shoveling out my front door from the outside every couple hours but it is a challenge to not bring the snow in with you. I sometimes wake up to this and don't have a shovel inside my tent, so I have to kick and use my hands to create a small tunnel to the outside. An avalanche always happens and litters my floor with snow. One technique I've developed to keep my bed and clothes dry is to cover them up with sheets each time I leave so that it's easy to remove the inside drifts.

Back at camp folks were keeping entertained.

The Chief tent provided a refuge for the carp crew.

Some were nestled up on the floor near the heaters in the Rec tent.

Some watched movies. Other knitted and read books. I baked some bread.

A few days later the CON 1 lifted and it was neat to see how the camp can get buried in such a short time. One can only imagine what it looked like when the first put-in team came to after camp had been dormant over winter.

The dozer crew geared up, jumped on their horses and began pushing out the drifts.

One big addition to camp was that Papa X-RAY got the big generators rolling meaning that we no longer had to rely on the small power stations on skis. Here's the galley gene getting moved.

In the kitchen...

I started cooking on my second day at WAIS and in just a few days I adapted to my new work environment. Years ago it would take me several weeks to be able to start pumping out truffles and delish breads, but habitual practice has all the recipes engrained in my brain. I'm pretty confident that you could drop me into any kitchen on Earth (or space), at any altitude and temperature, with whatever ingredients, and be able to churn up something tasty. As one Chef put it... my motto should be, "Have knife will cook." Cinnamon rolls packed with raisins and pecans, before topped with cream cheese frosting.

A crackuccino (reduced 2 large pots of coffee to 1/2 cup + heavy cream and vanilla) chocolate torte.

Strawberry and rhubarb that I made for turkey day.

Some of the pies that community made for the holiday.

One morning I saw that there leftover BBQ ribs and grits. I made a quick BBQ sauce, loaded a cast iron with puff and butter, then filled it with grits and the pulled rib meat. Engineered first here at WAIS. Fat belly mama BBQ rib and grit cast iron pie.

I had some leftover bread dough from my white loaves and created this zirgot snake bread. I filled the dough with gouda, chopped nuts and fresh strawberry jam. Rolled it, stretched it and wound it up to form a spiral.

By request from a Toolikan I worked with in the summer at Toolik... caramelized teriyaki salmon with candied walnuts, apples, pears and fresh basil.

White loaves.

Getting kinda crazy here... sugar being brought up to 300 F to create cashew brittle.

I have learned the ways of sugar at high temps through experimentation at Pole and can pretty much make any candy that you would pick up at a 7/11. If I could own any restaurant I would start up a bakery-candy-coffee shop in a tropical place and buy all my grains, sugars and coffee beans from local farmers.

One morning I walked in to a fridge loaded with freshies. A week later the 750 lbs. of freshies were gone.

We still have 20 lbs. of ginger. Big Chef Dave in CO... how'd you do your ginger ale at Camargo?

Another morning I walked in to this note. At Toolik I used to get little love letters from the science girls, but this one, I dunno what to think. "crazy a$$ chocolate lined filament... tied to a line of high steppin cabaret legs...". WTF dude.

Random shot of cocoa powder on the floor.

Russ basting the turkey day turkey. I don't view Thanksgiving as a holiday to celebrate pilgrims and the way they treated the Native Americans... I view the holiday as a means to give thanks to all the food, farmers, earth, fire, wind and water that goes into cooking. I had tons of pics from turkey day, but lost them all when transferring them from my camera to my netbook. Oh well, I had a couple from the after party and you can see that we were all having a great time.

The day after turkey day I decided to go hike out to the skiway. Most use skidoos to get around, but with 24 hours of downtime I'm going to use my 'high steppin cabaret legs' tied to big blue boots.

This is what WAIS looks like from a 1/2 mile away.

The skiway.

Papa X-RAY was out there kitesurfing with a snowboard.

At the start of last week the researchers arrived and some of the temporary put-in crew departed. The first thing we did was put up the rest of the tents in Tent City.

Here's the comm crew installing the satellite internet system.

While comms took over the communication module WAIS management had to temporarily relocate their operations to the galley. Boss Jon on the phone with MacTown.

Like every day, when my work is done I meander out to my tent in Tent City at 4 PM to catch some Zs.

This post brings us up to late November.