Glaciers, Ravens & the
Pacific Northwest – Part 1
Summer began in Anchorage, a city rich with Native American culture. As one of a team of would-be student mountaineers in Prescott College’s Wilderness Leadership summer semester course, I chose to arrive a week early and acclimate to the around-the-clock sunlight. After a 12-hour flight delay and two cancelled flights my plane and I arrived in Alaska. The airline felt that my luggage would be more comfortable in Seattle for a few days.
There are 8 remaining indigenous tribal cultures in Alaska, and hundreds of tribal villages and communities. For the uninitiated like me, a visit to the Alaska Native Heritage Center was an outstanding introduction to a world completely foreign to my knowledge base. Although a few hours of studying the history, architecture, art and languages of eight nations barely begins to scratch the surface, I gained a sense of respect for the unique cultures these tribes embody.
At the end of the week, my fellow students and I met at the Anchorage airport to begin an epic adventure. We were to spend the next two months learning the finer points of glacier travel, mountaineering, expedition planning, guiding and instructing. Ultimately, our goal was to instruct and guide a group of Prescott College students for two weeks in North Cascades National Park. First we’d hike the thirteen-miles along the beautiful blue-green Eklutna Lake to Eklutna Glacier. From there we would live and travel on the glacier, a 38-mile traverse on skis, crampons and on foot, lasting for weeks.
Watch for part 2 – coming soon!