Friday, August 19, 2005
posted 8/19/2005 07:03:00 AM UTC+12, McMurdo Local Time

Ian's back from the hike!

So, after about a month living mostly in the woods, I finished up my little adventure on the Colorado Trail August 12th. I had a great time backpacking and just goofing off in the mountains, but it's kind of nice to be back in civilization now. Since the hike is over, my main focus is shifting back to Antarctica stuff and getting ready for messing around in New Zealand after that, so this blog should be getting active again!

While I was out, a letter from RPSC came in informing me of their work boot reimbursement program, which will let me get up to $150 back from the purchase of a pair of work boots for the ice. Here's a slightly edited excerpt from a couple emails I bounced back and forth with my boss at RPSC:

Are there any specific requirements regarding what kind of shoes I buy (steel toes, insulation, etc?) I've never had a problem with cold feet in regular heavy hiking/mountaineering boots as I tend to go with nice thick socks. Not a huge fan of steel toe boots either, but most of what I do outside doesn't involve heavy equipment so I can see where they might be nice. That said, I've been in some pretty cold/icy places, but probably not as extreme as Antarctica, so let me know what you think. Could I buy a pair of boots that costs more than $150 and just get reimbursed for $150 of the cost?

Boots are always tricky the first time people go down. We leave the requirements very loose so people can get what works best for them. Don't get hiking boots as they generally won't hold up that well in Antarctica. Get work boots with heavy lugged soles and at least 1,000 grams of thinsulate. Everyone has different views on how much insulation they want it ranges from a minimum of 1,000 on up. Also make sure they are more than 9" high for ankle protection. Do not get steel toes as you would freeze your toes off working outside. If the boots you buy are more than $150.00 you still need to submit the itemized receipt but you can only claim $150.00. Let me know if you have any more questions. I'm happy to help.

Scott's been really helpful through this whole process, I'm really glad to have someone to just toss random questions at from where ever I am and get a solid response back promptly!

Also, I'm very seriously considering taking my bike with me to New Zealand and leaving it there so that I can get around the country on wheels. RPSC books tickets to Christchurch through American Airlines/Quantas, so I gave them a call to ask about it earlier today and to my surprise found out that I could take my bike at no additional cost as long as it was one of my two checked bags! If it's not one of the two checked bags, it will cost an additional $88 dollars, which I think is a pretty reasonable deal. I'm pretty sure I can fit all my toys into a single duffel bag and the box with my bike, so that should work out smoothly. Going to see about getting a set of good panniers, a leather saddle, taillight setup, and a few odds and ends together and take it with me!

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