Arrival in Juneau and Hike to Mendenhall Glacier

By Sarah Bouckoms, Photos by Adam Taylor

Happy solstice everyone!  We celebrated by arriving in Juneau on a warm sunny day and to stunning views of the glaciers.  It's a fun experience meeting all the people we are going to get to know so well over the next eight weeks.  Everyone seems pretty nice so far, no apparent poor hygiene practices . . . as of yet.  Everyone is super cool and has an amazing story to tell.

The 2013 JIRP crew en route to Mendenhall Glacier.  Photo:  Adam Taylor

Today we hiked to Mendenhall Glacier.  It was really exciting for those of us who had never been on a glacier before.  Pretty special moments to see those dreams come true.  No one was deterred by the slight rain and gray clouds, but rather it made for some majestic photos.  The weather was still warm, in the mid 60s, and the clouds lifted as the day went on. 

A view of the terminus of Mendenhall Glacier.  Photo:  Adam Taylor   

We learned how to put on crampons, worked out the cobwebs in our legs and got to know everyone a bit more.  The trail mix was fabulous and we enjoyed the luxury of fresh apples.  Oh and cereal WITH MILK for breakfast.  Savor it . . .

The group puts on crampons for some practice on the lower Mendenhall Glacier.  Photo:  Adam Taylor

The best part about the day has to be the ice cave.  The ceiling was literally glowing.  It was indescribably beautiful.  Thanks to Adam's photography skills for capturing the scene.  Walking in the cave, the stream was flowing, the walls dripping, ice forms everywhere and cameras snapping.  I think everyone has already been wowed beyond belief and the "best day ever" quotes are often heard, as will probably happen every day.  We're so happy to be here. 

Inside an ice cave at the terminus of Mendenhall Glacier.  Photo:  Adam Taylor