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To the ice at last

where are we today?

It’s the first day of Expedition 3, but we’ve already spent a week in transit, thanks to one scrubbed flight last week that stranded us in New Zealand for the weekend. Today, we packed our Extreme Cold Weather gear into blaze-orange duffel bags and boarded an Air Force C-17 jet headed due south, to McMurdo Station, Antarctica. Passengers crammed against the plane walls, facing a row of 10-ton cargo containers chained to the floor in the center aisle.

Five hours later, we emerged into the brilliant sunlight and 20-degree-Fahrenheit (-6.6°C) weather of Antarctica. The Ross Ice Shelf—our runway—stretched away to the south, and ice-choked McMurdo Sound vanished to the north. Only the black mountains sitting in the distance broke the whiteness. Greeters hurried us onto a huge coach (“Ivan the Terra Bus”), with wheels taller than I am, and we chugged into the town of McMurdo, population 1,100 cheerful people.

Tomorrow, we go camping.

Read on about our adventure in the slideshow below. Can't see the slideshow? Get the Flash plug in »

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