After arriving in Antarctica, many days were spent preparing for the 2 weeks we would spend out in the field on Mount Erebus. Basically, science gear all had to be listed, boxed, and weighed before departure. Additionally, gear had to be separated into two shipments: 1) for the gear going with us to Fang Camp, 2) the gear we would need once we got to Lower Erebus Hut.
I spent quite a bit of my downtime drinking tea and writing in my journal while looking out at the sea ice and pressure ridges from the lounge area. I also got out for a couple of walks along the pressure ridges, which was very scenic and refreshing.
What made the walks even more interesting were the Weddell seals that had chewed their way through the ice and were lounging on the sea ice near the marked trail.
After spending nearly a week at Scott Base preparing, we got confirmation that we would be heading to the field the next morning. After a few last minute changes, it was determined that we would it take 2 helicopter trips to get the 6 of us and our gear up the mountain to Fang camp. Fang camp is about two thirds of the way up the mountain and is used as a stop for a couple of days to get used to the altitude. Flying directly to Lower Erebus Hut isn't done much anymore since the altitude is 12000 ft, which feels more like 16000 ft since it is so far from the equator, and altitude sickness is a real concern. In fact, most of us took Diomox to help adapt to the altitude sickness along with drinking at least 4 liters of water per day.
It was my first helicopter ride and it was simply amazing.
Once we landed, everyone helped unload and start to get gear put into our tents. A few helicopter trips later and we were on our own on the side of Mount Erebus.