Day 2 was beyond epic, sheer epicness. I know what I was thinking, after the first day, hiking to the top of a mountain which took around 4 hours, a pair of snow shoes, hiking poles, a 20 pound pack and about 5 layers of clothing, there's not too much more that could be more epic....right? But then day 2 rolled around, and we went on what I would call a proper expedition. We took on this...
This photo does the scale no justice whatsoever of just how massive this glacier was. It's name is "Manutska Glacier". At 27 miles long and 4 miles wide, it is the largest glacier accessible by car in the United States. After driving about 2 hours north of anchorage, you've made it. You go down a gravel road for about a mile and are greeted by a wood shavk run by a little all by herself. You pay $20 a person (cash only), hop back in your car, and drive about 2 miles down a beautiful gravel road, then, after cresting the last hill, there it is. What's lovely is you park your car basically right in front of the glacier. Once out, you'll come to find that in the winter time, it's not as simple as just grabbing your gear and start recording away. No. You step out of your car, and you're greeted with -1 degrees Fahrenheit and 15 mph winds. So you're out of your car, but after that, you spend about 15 minutes adding your layers of clothes and putting on your 2-3 pairs of gloves. You then put the final piece on, your cramp-ons. These are spikey metal slips that go under your boots to grip the ice, you are about to go on glacier by the way.
So gear is loaded up, your bundled up, and you're on your way. I know most of this how sounded border line non-enjoyable, but seriously, once you're on your way, and you walk out away from every living thing, and it's just silent with nothing but the sound of wind and ice shifting 100 feet below your feet, it becomes dumpy magic. Words can't be formed to describe just how amazing you feel to be alive in that moment. The fragility of life itself finds its way into your thoughts and sits there like a bag of weights. Only you and a powerful force of nature are there, and it's absolutely breath taking. You suddenly forget how it's about -10 with windchill, and how at a moments notice you could slip through a crevice 50 feet down and never get out. (We're all very aware of that danger mind you. If you do this, don't take it lightly). Having brought that up, we're constantly aware of how powerful this place is. We're aware of how dangerous it is, I wanted to state that clearly. In simply saying, you kind of forget it about it in a way. The only thing you want to do is keep trail blazing into the sheer beauty of it. All you'll want to do is to record every single thing you can hear. But you also don't want to focus so much on it that you forget to exist in what's around you, and not to mention, stay alive.
All this to say, glaciers are amazing. The offer ridiculously haunting and beautiful sounds. If you get the chance, go to one. Be safe, be smart, be creative, but most importantly, don't forget to just BE....in that moment.