Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Castle Rock Hike

Since we are making our final preparations for leaving here, we squeezed in our hike up Castle Rock. Castle Rock is about 3.5 miles from town. It is the highest point on the peninsula we are on. In order to do Castle Rock, you must take an out door safety course and then sign in with the Fire Station. The Fire Station gives you a radio in case you get in trouble and you have to let them know when you are going to be back. If you don't report back in, all sorts of procedures get started, with the eventual dispatch of a search-and-rescue helicopter. In addition to the radio and signing in, we also were warned repeatedly not to deviate from the marked trail or we could fall into a crevasse - that's a big crack in the ice. We were basically walking across the top of a glacier. As you can imagine - this was WAY cool!

Henry and Jill on the trail. You can see observation hill in the left side of the photo.
There are two survival huts along the trail called "Apples" (hmmm I wonder why). The weather can get nasty very quickly out here so these are provided to allow you to jump in and take shelter.
They have sleeping bags, food, a camp stove, chairs, and water. It almost looks like it would be kind of fun to get stranded out here for a day and stay in the apple.

Our objective in sight, we press on.

We arrive at Castle Rock, ready for a great climb.

The whole group, half way up. We got this photo thanks to Henry's timer on his camera. Our group includes Jill, Rich Joss (the LDB camp manager from Raytheon), Dwayne, me, and Henry.

We made it to the top! On top of Castle Rock, there is a Geo Cache. We all signed the log book. There were only a few pages used since the cache was placed in 2003. Jill found the place where she signed back in 2004.
A great view of Erebus from on top of the Rock.

The obligatory "Mighty Explorer Pose".

This was a real live (although not very long) mountain climbing experience. The trail was equipped with ropes to help us get up and down. Surprisingly, the ropes were much more useful on the trip down than up.

Yes, I went down this! (photo by Henry)

We made it down alive!

Gathering at the base.

Just a quick 3.5 miles across the ice and it's lunch time!

About half way to town, a helicopter was heading out to Erebus. They spotted us on the trail and did a low pass over us. Henry was the only one who got his camera out in time. They passed about 10 feet over our heads. Oh yeah, we loved it.

Here's our New Year's greeting from on top of Castle Rock!

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