Have you ever wondered what it’s like to wake up on a glacier? Do you like having to break the ice off of your pants and boots before you can put them on? If you said yes, this is for you.
I have been living and working on the Mendenhall and Denver Glaciers in southeast Alaska for 7 summers now and I have been through many of the battles we have had in living in a remote camp. I would say the two best parts of living on the glacier are the sunrises and sunsets. You might think “isn’t it light around the clock in the summer?” and you would be mostly correct, however in southeast Alaska it’s far enough south that it does get a little darker for a few hours. In fact, it gets just dark enough to not be able to read. Most of us don’t see the darkness for most of the summer since it is from 11:00 pm to 4:00 am and we like our sleep (at least, most of us do).
Before I can see the amazing sight that awaits my tired eyes in the morning, I have to get out of my warm sleeping bag and get into my frozen clothes. I would wake up and grab my Carhartt’s from my shelf where I laid them out to, hopefully, dry over night. As I would pull them toward me I would notice that the pant legs are straight out in the air as I hold the pants from the belt. It is very awakening to put that first leg down into ice covered pants, hoping to break the ice off with my foot.
Once I’ve tackled the pants I have another quest… the boots. If the pants are soaked from walking through snow then you can guess how bad the boots will be. Lucky for me I can’t feel cold in my feet (or much of anything else) from years of wet, cold neglect and the boots go on smoothly. Luckily, when I step out into the fresh air, the sun is usually just peeking above the high peaks around the camp so I can be instantly warmed in the morning light.
After getting the morning chores out of the way, I get to have breakfast which our awesome cooks have prepared. It’s a great way to start a day.