Hike to Castle Rock

19 Jan

There are a variety of hiking opportunities down here that vary in difficulty.  Since I’d already become familiar with the hike to Scott Base and Ob Hill, I decided that Linda and I should venture to Castle Rock.  It’s a 3 1/2 mile moderate hike each way.  There are two apples that serve as huts to get warm or away from the elements.  

Linda and I picked a day she was off since I work in the mornings and am free after 2pm.  We put on all of our ECW and headed to the Firehouse to checkout.  Since it’s a longer hike and off the main roads, you have to go with a partner, checkout with the firehouse, pick up a radio in case of any emergency, and identify a designated time to return. 

We began our journey around 3pm.  To get to the trailhead was the most difficult part.  Getting out of  town in any direction is all uphill.   We hadn’t realized this until now!  As we walked and walked and walked, we realized that we were definitely warm enough, but exhausted before we even got to the trailhead.  We were in for a long afternoon. 

It was a beautiful afternoon with clear skies and the temperature was 15-20 degrees Fahrenheit.  We worked up a sweat pretty quick and felt we were warmed up by the time we actually found the trail.  The road was pretty challenging to walk on having to walk thru the path of the variety of vehicles that ride on this road.  There were all sorts of large tracks from SnowCat type vehicles (the ones used to groom ski mountains) and it made it really fun to maneuver around.

We came to the first apple and had to check it out.  It was really cute inside and really perfect for a little getaway from the weather and/or really bright sun.  We rested for a few minutes and then headed out to continue our journey. 

We peaked into the second apple along the way, but didn’t stop.  We had a goal in mind and were really excited to get to the rock.

We neared the base of Castle Rock and it got much more icy and slick.  Linda assured me she would keep me safe and sound and she did.  We made it safely halfway to the top of the rock which is as high as we were allowed to hike at this time of the year.  The scenery was so amazing.  We just sat for awhile and took in the views.  It was really worth all the effort. 

As it began to get more windy, we decided to head back to town.  The walk back was obviously much easier since most of it was downhill.  We knew what to expect and knew exactly where we were going.  The clouds rolled in pretty quick and it became colder and more windy.  We made it back to the firehouse to check in by our designated time and completed the route of 7 miles in a little under 3 hours.  I was impressed with our time.  It’s very important that we head right to the firehouse because if you don’t check in by your time, the firehouse activates the SAR team (search and rescue) and then they start looking for bodies!  It’s NO BUENO! 

The hike was really enjoyable.  It gave us time to chat and catch up as well as quiet time to just take in the beautiful scenery, think and reflect.  It was challenging at parts and it definitely appeared to be easier than it really was, but it was such  breathtaking views throughout the whole hike.  I am anxious to do it again or try the Castle Rock Loop that is about 8 miles and continues on from Castle Rock to Scott Base and back to McMurdo. 

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One Response to “Hike to Castle Rock”

  1. Mike January 22, 2009 at 4:33 am #

    Way cool, It is truly beautiful.

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