Returning to Greenery

How time flies when one is busy. Last time I wrote a blog, I was recovering from sickness in Chamonix in March. Now it is August and I just finished up my second camp on Eagle Glacier, the rains have descended on Anchorage, and people are beginning to talk about going back to school. This spring and summer have been busy in more ways than just laziness in blogging. I got a few spring adventures in (sometime maybe I will post some recap or at least a few pictures) before training began again in earnest. Additionally, I resumed my complicated daily schedule with returning to work at Coffman Engineers.

On top of that, I experienced another injury (again maybe a recap later) and my parents finally completed the item they had threatened since we moved to Alaska over 10 years ago: they left. With a couple months helping prep our house for sale, I went from a nice stable situation living with my parents at 23 post-college with an engineering job, to scrambling to find temporary living. All the sudden my roots were torn up. As I told them many times: my parents were making my life difficult.

But life goes on and I still didn’t write a blog, so now here it is following the APU team’s third glacier camp (my second for this summer) that I finally am getting around to it. Why now you might ask: because it is Sunday and it’s not very nice outside.

However, unlike today, last week was pretty incredible. We flew up to Eagle Glacier from Girdwood last Sunday with the standard shock of going from the lush greenery of the Girdwood valley to the stark lifeless Eagle Glacier. This time there was an additional shock waiting for us. A low snow year and warm summer combined wreak havoc on the normally pristine glacier. New crevasses and blue ice were emerging and growing daily. Luckily the trusty staff composing of Erik Flora, Glacier Don, and Andre were there to ensure our safety and preserve the quality of training. And what training it was. Six days of sunshine gave us the full gamut of conditions with icy mornings and slush in the afternoons. Sunscreen, shorts, and shirtless days became the norm instead of the exception. The cloud layer that often envelopes Eagle with fifty foot visibility only returned for the last day of camp. While this brought our spirits down for the ski, we even benefited from the cloud layer. Instead of the quick drop into the valley via helicopter, the Alpine Air pilots gave us a scenic tour of Eagle, Raven, Jewel, and Milk glaciers as we looped through Crow Pass (another topic for a recap) in order to stay below the cloud level.

For now, enjoy the pictures and stay tuned for all those recaps.

Watch out for the cliff.
Watch out for the cliff.
The Thomas Family Training Center on Eagle Glacier.  Also known as "hut" on the Chugach State Park maps.
The Thomas Family Training Center on Eagle Glacier. Also known as “hut” on the Chugach State Park maps.
West branch of Eagle Glacier.
West branch of Eagle Glacier via the helicopter flight out.
Sunset above Eagle Glacier
Sunset above Eagle Glacier
Life does exist above Eagle Glacier.
Flowers on the ridge. (This one is for my sister who always likes to take pictures of flowers.)
Adventuring earlier in the summer with Eric Packer and PK Kovacs.
Adventuring earlier in the summer with Eric Packer and PK Kovacs.
Team photo from the glacier taken by Erik Flora.
Team photo from the glacier taken by Erik Flora.
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