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Mount Morning Lava Flows: Stage Two Begins

where are we today?

Tonight finds us back inside a Scott tent–this one a touch more lemony than the burning sunflower yellow of our tent at Ainley’s camp. We’re at the base of a gentle slope made entirely of grapefruit-sized to cantaloupe-sized chunks of dark lava. To the east is Mt. Discovery, shorter but much closer than Mt. Erebus, so it rises dramatically before us whenever the clouds break. Its steep sides and rounded summit give it the shape of a ten-gallon hat.

A helicopter dropped us here at 4:00 p.m. along with geologists Dr. Mark Kurz, Dr. Adam Soule, and graduate student Andrea Burke. Unlike our cushy visit to Dr. Ainley’s camp, our camp at Mt. Morning offered no Rac-Tents, hot meals, or friendly residents. Kurz was last here 10 years ago, and the low circle of stones around his tent site is still standing. We don’t think anyone has been to this spot since.

That meant we had lots of work to do. We had tents to set up and tie down securely, snow to melt, pasta to cook, dozens of storage boxes to organize, a toilet tent to fiddle with, snowmobiles to secure for the night, and work to plan for tomorrow. At around midnight we called it a day and headed into our gleaming yellow tent to write you this dispatch.

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

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