Friday, May 28, 2010

Up North

During my last two weeks in Juneau I managed to squeeze in a few more adventures before coming up North. I finally ahd the chance to fulfill a goal of mine on my list of things to do before I die: sailing! I've wanted to go for a long time now so I was so excited for the chance to sail the Gastineau Channel. About 10 of us went with a retired biologist, Van, and even though the weather was pretty crappy, we still had a wonderful time.
Sailing! (sorry its sideways)

The next day the weather totally cleared up and I went on a hike with three friends. We hiked on the West Glacier Trail at the Mendenhall Glacier and I finally got to not only touch, but also walk onto a glaicer. We explored the Glacier for a while and had a picnic lunch on the freezing ice. We stepped off the glacier to look for some ice caves we had heard about. As we were walking along the side of the glacier, we found some beautiful blue ice, bluer than anything I've ever seen before. It was underneath an overhang of ice that would break off at any second so we approached with extreme caution. We knew it was really dangerous and stupid to keep going but we couldn't resist getting a closer view of the ice. As we continued to take "just one step closer" we ended up finding an ice cave. We had no idea what they would be like or where they were so we were so excited to come across this. We stepped inside to a beautiful secret world of blue. I can't even begin to describe the experience but hopefully the pics will help you understand it's magnificence.
Holding a piece of the glacier that calved into the lake
Sitting on the Mendenhall Glacier

Beth, Niza, Sean, and I inside the ice cave
Beautiful glacial ice

The river that flows underneath the glaicer

After saying lots of goodbyes in Juneau, we left on Friday morning to start the trip North. We first took a ferry from Juneau to Haines and then drove through BC and the Yukon, back into Alaska and down to Anchorage. We camped at some awesome spots along the way, saw tons of glaciers, HUGE mountains, black and brown bears and moose. It was by far the most beautiful drive of my entire life.
Driving through BC.
A bunch of us jumped into a freezing (literally-yes, that is ice in the water) lake in the Yukon
Beautiful sunset at 10:30 pm at Deadman's Lake Campground

The North Shop where I now live. The tents are set up around this building. This is where we keep all the tools and equipment and there is a big kitchen to use and a bathroom with a shower! :)

Our crews show up a week from Monday and I can't wait to meet them!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010


This past week has been amazing for a number of reasons. We finally started working on a real project and it felt so great to be getting dirty and doing hard work. We worked on the Trail of Time at the Mendenhall Glacier. We got to camp out at one of the most spectacular campgrounds I've ever seen. We were right on the lake right in front of the glacier, with a beaver pond right by as well. I also saw my first wolf while working on this project. It was amazing! We listened to them howl all night long but never expected to lay eyes on them until we saw one trotting down the road right after finishing up a days work and leaving the woods for home. So cool!!!
View from my campsite of a beautiful reflection of Mendenhall Glacier
Grubbing (removing all organic material from the trail corridor before laying gravel over it)
Learning how to chainsaw! It's super fun and more of this will come next week.

Friday was a big day for all of us because this was when we were told where we will be working for the summer (North or Sotheast Alaska) and who our co-leaders will be. I was super relieved when I received good news all around. I will be leading a crew in the North meaning my new home base will be in Indian, AK, just outside of Anchorge, and I will be working on projects throughout the interior of Alaska. I am super excited to have a chance to explore the rest of the state! I am also really happy about who I will be working with. My co-leader is Tommy English and my field educator is Beth Tyson. They are both hilarious and fun as well as really hard workers who are dedicated and passionate.

Yesterday, I had an amazing experience riding on a float plane. Me and 3 others got to take a float plane trip over Juneau and 5 glaciers and land at the Taku Lodge to enjoy an all you can eat salmon feast. It was such an incredible experience to see these beautiful landscapes from an arial perspective and then to land the plane in water right next to a huge glaicer.
Juneau from above
Gastineau Channel. Juneau is on the right, Douglas Island on the left
Flying over Hole in the Wall Glacier
 Right after landing in front of the Glacier.
Me, Beth (who I'll be co-leading with-yay!), Katie, & Sean
 A baby black bear waiting for her mom to finish liking the salmon remainders off the grill (a daily occurance at the lodge)

The leaders going north will hang out here in Juneau for about 2 more weeks doing more chainsaw training and then one more work project before making the trip to Anchorage. I can't wait for the ferry ride and the amazing road trip to follow. It's going to be an incredible summer!!!