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On the outer lap of the ob hill loop, cracks in the Ross Sea give way to lots of seals coming up onto the surface of the ice to warm up and relax.

Recreation at McMurdo – Hiking the Observation Hill Loop Trail

Ross Island Trail System

During my team’s time stuck at McMurdo waiting for transport to WAIS, we had a lot of free time to kill – and spent much of it taking long walks and hike around the surrounding area.

Ross Island, where McMurdo is located, has its own extensive trail system. One of the more popular and accessible trails is the relatively flat loop circling Observation Hill. On a sunny day, I hiked the loop with a few members of my team:

In addition to taking lots of hikes, we also explore town quite a bit. Dumpster diving in McMurdo is a whole sport, especially just otuside of the Crary Laboratory, where all sorts of interesting science gear is discarded.
In addition to taking lots of hikes, we also explore town quite a bit. Dumpster diving in McMurdo is a whole sport, especially just otuside of the Crary Laboratory, where all sorts of interesting science gear is discarded.
On the outer lap of the ob hill loop, cracks in the Ross Sea give way to lots of seals coming up onto the surface of the ice to warm up and relax.
On the outer lap of the ob hill loop, cracks in the Ross Sea give way to lots of seals coming up onto the surface of the ice to warm up and relax.
Hiking with my team.
Hiking with my team.
The hiking trail circling Observation Hill is quite mild, with a gentile slope, and well worn pathway. To the left is the frozen Ross Sea, starting to crack during the summer thaw.
The hiking trail circling Observation Hill is quite mild, with a gentile slope, and well worn pathway. To the left is the frozen Ross Sea, starting to crack during the summer thaw.
Since Ross Island is volcanic, the stones on the surface are all lava rocks, or similar. In many spots, the landscape feels like another planet.
Since Ross Island is volcanic, the stones on the surface are all lava rocks, or similar. In many spots, the landscape feels like another planet.

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