By Sarah Cooley, Photos by Sarah Bouckoms
We all woke up a little sore this morning after our long hike up to Camp 17, and we started off the day with a lot of pancakes and coffee. Then began the camp orientation tour, followed by the cleaning and organizing that comes with opening up camp after a long winter. Since we were the first party to arrive, it was our responsibility to prepare camp for the arrival of our teammates. We spent the morning washing every single dish in the kitchen, pulling out and taking inventory of all of the food that spent the winter here, bleaching down all of the counter tops, and organizing the pantry. Hidden in the back corner of the pantry was a vintage can of chicken, lovingly labeled "DO NOT OPEN UNTIL 2061".
With all the food organized, we were ready to make lunch -- just in time for the second trail party to arrive. They had split the hike into two days, and spent the night at Camp 17A located a few hours' hike below Camp 17. When they came into view below the ridge, we headed out to the edge of camp and cheered them up the final stretch of the snowfield. We enjoyed hearing about their hike up over a bowl of chili, relaxed for a bit, and then continued the cleaning and camp opening.
My afternoon job involved digging a snow pit to use as our refrigerator. It was great to get outside after spending the morning in the kitchen, and with four of us working on it, we finished the task quite quickly. We also had a bit of excitement with three helicopter arrivals, bringing up our skis, more fuel, and three faculty members. After a few days in Juneau, it's great to finally be on the icefield -- after all, that's why we're all here -- and the arrival of each trail party adds excitement to the camp. For now, we'll be cleaning, organizing, and getting used to life on the icefield, all in preparation for the upcoming safety training and the science. In the meantime, it's great to have started our adventure!