Saturday, November 1, 2008

Exploring in the Deltas

High today: 5
Low today: -13
Today I went on an awesome reconnaissance trip with a new friend of mine. Brando just moved here in August and hasn't really been out of Fairbanks since he got here. Everyone should take advantage of the beauty within a few hours of the city. It's easy to get caught up in school and life in Fairbanks, but really Fairbanks is a great place to live because it gives us access to SO much. We traveled about 2 hours down the Richardson without a plan, but I suggested we try to find the 'real' ice cave at the Castner Glacier.. as opposed to the mini-one I found with Aviva and Justin back in May. Since it's not far off of the highway, this would be a good first stop on our reconnaissance trip.
Take in that mountain air!!
This really was my first winter trip that was really out there in the mountains. We weren't that far off of the road but it felt like we were so far from everything walking in an amazing world of white straight out of a backcountry ski magazine.

Most of the ice was frozen but there were some open spots so we had to be careful maneuvering in some areas. THAT'S THE ICE CAVE! Yessssssss we found it! How did we miss this in May??
This thing was amazing!!
The view inside of it and outside of it was spectacular.Coolest part of the cave was the ice stalactites hanging from the ceiling. They were extremely brittle. When you gave them a tiny tap a ton of them fell down.Below is looking deeper into the cave. There was a lake about 20 feet farther down. Brando was throwing rocks down there and it sounded like a pretty deep lake.View from the cave looking out..Wait.. whose prints are these? Aren't the bears supposed to be sleeping? I need a book or guide on footprints in Alaska because I'm constantly trying to figure out what is making certain footprints.
We wandered well past the glacier post holing through snow up to our hips in spots. No path, no plan, perfect day.Do we really have to go back to the car? With some feet warmers and an extra pair of socks I could have stayed out there for a long time. Brando at one point said, "wow, I'm getting paid to do this," referring to being paid to go to grad school in AK. Amen, brother. Life is good.
Don't worry, mountains, we'll be back.

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