This is the view of the mountain as I drove up too it, and the whole mountain is covered in snow and only looks black from the coal dust that gets blow around. As I drove up the switch backing road to the top I was glad I didn't meet a coal truck. Many years back they had replaced their bucket system of transporting the coal with dump trucks and I was hoping I didn't meet one coming down. At the top I parked the truck and walked into a dream garage. With this garage you are truly a go anywhere kind of guy.
In the front is obviously the snowmobile that I would be taking up to KHO, and then behind it is the Swedish "bandvagn" that we had used last time. I only wish I knew how to drive the Swedish tank because that thing is awesome. So in order to go up to KHO I had to suit up into my UNIS work suit.
I then drove the snowmobile up to KHO and found it just as buried as it was before. First you should look back when I first went up there and posted a picture of the KHO with barely any snow on the ground. This is what it looked like now.
This is a picture facing the front as the same in the other picture. At the left side of the building the snow drift is up to the roof and it is almost half way up the window as seen in the middle of the building. Then the front door of the building, which would be located on the other side of the building on the left side as pictured above, looks like this.
It is buried half way up the door, and the garage next to it is almost completely covered. Finally the back door which is where we got in last time was accessible.
There was little shoveling to do this second time but upon our first arrival we had our work cut out for us as seen by the snowbank piled up on the left side. This side is slightly more blocked by the wind so it was not as bad. Then once I enter through the door I enter the long hallway off of which all the instrument rooms are.
There are currently 21 different imagers or cameras located down this hallway, each of which have their own room. Then at the end of the hallway is a control room, a living room and the garage. This was the view out of the window that had the snow built in front of it.
After checking out everything in KHO and making sure no alarms were going off and everything was fine I headed outside to get some pictures. I truly had an amazing view from up on the mountain.
This looks down valley back towards Longyearbyen, and then the view to my left.
There stand more whitewashed mountains, and finally the view to my right.
Yup more absolutely beautiful and stunning mountains. I think this can be documented as the moment where my love with the Arctic was truly solidified. Then on my way down I had to get a closer look at the satellites.
These satellites are called SvalSat and are part of the Kongsberg Satellite Services, which is a Norwegian run enterprise used for providing ground stations and earth observation services for polar orbiting satellites. This is one of there three different locations. They make for quiet the background piece. Finally I headed back parked the snowmobile and drove back down to UNIS. Although on the way back I must have stopped at least 10 times to pull over and take a picture, but I simply could not help it. This was the view as I was coming down off of the mountain.
Then the final picture I will leave you with from this trip is of a dog kennel that I had not noticed located right outside of town. This is clearly the best place to raise sled dogs and I could only wish that I got to see a team of them out.