Thursday, September 20, 2012

Leaving Alaska

As the tires of the car speed down the road and the tree-filled scenery passes by my window, I say farewell to the Matanuska Glacier and MICA. Summer for Alaska is over and like most of Alaska, MICA has been winterized and is closed until next year. It is bittersweet to leave but I'll admit that there is a large part of me that longs for my home in Portland, especially after living in a tent all summer in a camp with no running water (I definitely have a new appreciation for the flushing toilets and running faucets around the world) and over an hour away from a grocery store. However, I'll miss having trees be the first thing to greet me as I unzip my tent flap every morning, the simpleness of camp life and the people that I've shared my life with for the past 3 months. People whose ages range from those in college to 50, with lots of us in the middle, who all share a love of the outdoors, sitting around a campfire instead of a tv and beer. I'll even miss Stubs, our resident moose, who gave me a start from time to time. And among all these things, I'll miss Alaska. Alaska, a state where you can easily find a taxidermist by following their sign on the road, but so mountainous and filled with wildflowers, rivers and glaciers that it has to be one of the most awe-inspiring states I know.

At MICA, we worked a lot of hours, especially during the busiest month of July but in the end, I learned a lot of life skills for which I'm grateful. I learned how to drive a jet boat, manage overwhelming amounts tourists and make an excellent cup of espresso. I even managed to acquire some ice climbing techniques, my new favorite outdoor sport, and have a better understanding of those rivers of ice we call glaciers.

So thank you, Don and Tina, for extending an offer to come work for you and thank you to my friends and family who are always supportive of my adventures throughout the world. Summer 2012 rocked!

Below are some final Alaska summer pictures I never got around to posting...
The new snow on the mountains is called 'termination dust' by the locals, meaning summer is terminated

Hiking with my friend, Caitlin, one night we came across these grizzly tracks and promptly started talking louder as we walked along

At the company party we got to shoot guns

Translucent leaf on the glacier

A little moraine bashing one day got me out past the ice fall of the Matanuska Glacier

The blue ice of a water cut channel in the Matanuska

Taking down the yurt, one of my many offices of the summer, as part of season close

My favorite sunset of the season


  1. Thank you so much for letting us share your Alaska summer with you! I'm not going to get to spend any ice time (either north or south) for yet another year, and your wonderful stories and pictures kept the magic and longing alive in me.


  2. Carla, this is Erin from TD&H. Just wanted to say hi. Your contact email isn't on here or I'd email you personally. I got the video up at my Walking With Wired site. Hoping to get picked! I love the glacial wedding:)

    1. Hey, Erin. I saw your video. Good job! I really hope you get selected for New Zealand! And again, nice to meet you on the trail last week!