The Native Road to the Deep North II

June 18

ImageWe head to Seward. On the road, we stop at Exit glacier. The hike to the base of the glacier is less than a mile, but along the way, we walk through time. We pass where it used to be centuries ago. Signs mark the path with dates from years long past, from when ice still covered the land here, and rinsed it fresh with water. But as the forest path gives way to a younger trail of rock and stone, the dates become too recent. Ken remembers when you could walk right up to the glacier hundreds of feet beneath the gray precipice on which we arrive and look down. Far below us, the glacial ice is melting, dripping, retreating little by little. What will happen to the rivers below when it disappears? This is a living behemoth of pleistocene memory, and like the memories of our human elders, it is slowly fading away. What happens to the memory of ice when it turns into water, I wonder? Does it remember, like blood and bones?

ImageImage
The old ice
reawakens and starts
to disappear

We walk back, and continue on the road to Seward. When we arrive, we set up camp, and after a dinner of Wei’s campfire fajitas and beans, we fall asleep under the night sunlight. In our dreams, the gray dusk finally fades to black, and the sun falls behind the mountains.

Kyle Bemis
Ph.D. Student, Statistics

 

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