A forecast for low visibility at South Pole cancelled the morning flight but after good conditions prevailed all day, an evening flight was launched and at 9:35pm the first LC-130 of the summer season landed.
It was a great relief to a large group of us who were anxious to get out of there even though it meant landing at McMurdo at 2am. It made sleeping on the plane easier although it was really cold in there especially since we ended up standing outside waiting for about an hour to board.
Twelve hours later we were on the C-17 at McMurdo's Ice Runway and starting the trip north to civilization. I slept most of the way on that leg and before I knew it, less than 24 hours after I was at Pole, I was walking on pavement again at the Christchurch airport.
It's great to be back in a city, to smell flowering plants, to see someone other than the same 53 people, to have an endless supply of freshies. It won't take any time at all to get used to this again. The next few days will be busy with medical appointments to get PQ'd for next winter but I'll also be spending plenty of time at the favorite hangouts enjoying fresh beer on tap and the best sushi around. I'm just happy to be walking around outside in sandals with no worries at all about frostbite.
To our friends back at Pole, we'll see you soon!