Last Sunday was a great day for a stroll outside. It's a different place around here compared to
the busy summer season now that we're just about ready for the 5 months of darkness.
Many of the vehicles and heavy equipment have been parked for the winter. Lines have been drained, batteries taken out and these Pisten Bully's and loaders will all accumulate a thick coat of snow and ice before they come out of hibernation.
The Summer Camp gym will be kept warm this winter so that we have another place to work out in addition to the gym in the Elevated Station. Even though it's a 5 minute walk to get here, this is preferable to some who want to work out in solitude. Some of the guys are putting together a new bouldering cave with brand new hand holds so the old boards are sitting outside for now. The old hamstring curl machine that was in the El Station gym was moved out here but looks like it didn't make it inside.
Spoolhenge is casting very long shadows now that the sun is so low on the horizon.
During the summer, there's so much traffic, they actually have to have signs directing which side of the groomed road to the Dark Sector the vehicles can drive on. Again, the tracked vehicles chew up the surface so much, they get their own lane separate from the vehicles with tires. During the winter there are only a few tracked vehicles running and they just have to watch out for people walking outside in the dark.
We have to be prepared for unthinkable emergencies and have a cache of survival gear out on the snow berms. There are extreme weather tents, sleeping bags, frozen food, cook stoves and other gear located out here in case we lose the station to a catastrophe but manage to survive ourselves. Each one of us has also set aside a big orange bag with a full set of ECW (extreme cold weather) gear. These are stored either in a big box on the berms or in an outlying building so that we would each have another parka, pants, boots, etc in case of an emergency.
What are these berms?The Marisat satellite dish ball is in the background.
It's where we store a lot of stuff. Long rows of raised snow benches hold all kinds of treasures...
...extra mattresses and furniture...
...and the old washers from the laundry room that used to be in the Dome. I think I had another photo of them in an earlier post when they had just been taken out from there.
This year we have plenty of toilet paper. Not only do we have the restrooms in the El Station to keep stocked, the 2.0 Lounge, the only indoor smoking area, now has its own outhouse.
It's nicely decorated, has a seat carved out of blue insulating board and is stocked with plenty of TP. And another reason why we need so much toilet paper down here:
...for practical jokes like the one played on Weeks, our Facilities Engineer, who found his desk under a wall of Heavenly Soft yesterday morning. Fittingly, there's a Jesus bobblehead on top of the TP...and it looks remarkably like our dear friend Weeks.