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    Image courtesy Joanna Hubbard.

From: Joanna Hubbard
McMurdo Station, Antarctica, October 14, 2007

Skua Boots

After hiking Ob Hill in my super-warm and huge Extreme Cold Weather (ECW) boots, I need to find another pair of boots for hiking. My feet were just slopping around inside the issued boots and it didn't lead to a very secure feeling climbing up a rocky slope or down areas of packed snow on the hill. My trail running shoes work well around town but are too well ventilated to stand up well to more than half hour outside. Several folks on our team tried to be more prepared for this and mailed hiking boots to the station... but packages haven't come in yet from Christchurch. With a weight limit of 75 lbs including all the ECW gear, one of the hard packing choices most people make is bringing only a limited number of shoes - usually shower shoes and a tennis shoe/light hiking boot of their own. Other than borrowing shoes (tough when no one has lots of extras), I can go to Skua Central and see if someone else's castoffs will fit.

Skuas are a gull-like scavenging bird, very good at picking up anything edible or interesting. Skua Central is the place where all the reusable but currently unclaimed/donated clothing, personal items (like games or appliances), or food are stored and anyone can come by to find something they need. There is a whole half wall rack of shoes, many workboots, lots without laces... and I found a yellow paint spattered pair that fit! They are even well insulated and big enough to fit a good pair of socks.

Postcards from the Field: ANDRILL

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