Fragile Oasis

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McMurdo Station

McMurdo is part frontier town and part science lab. A delightful place that somehow attracts explorers, scientists, and misfits that need some form of temporary escape from the inherent organization of our civilized places back home.

My first impression is something from a B-grade western set in some obscure mining town, where life centers around one main street paved with ankle deep mud and rimmed by board sidewalks. Life in McMurdo also centers around the main street, filled with a mix of pedestrians, mud-caked dump trucks, loaders, various cleated tractor conveyances, and Mongo trucks with tires that truly look like a jolly fat Michelin Man. These trucks look like they are fed a mixture of gasoline and steroids. The streets in McMurdo are paved with mud, a coarse mixture derived from volcanic sediments, which remain frozen hard in the shade and slush in the sun. If you do not watch your step, you can easily sink in over the tops of your hiking shoes. Yes, this place is like a B-grade western except there are no board sidewalks.

Six fat tires on a Mongo truck with one flat tire.

The streets of McMurdo;
filled with half slush and half mud in the middle of a hot summer afternoon.