by Lizzie Kenny
After more than a week at Camp 17, everyone has settled into camp life. Wake-up call is at 7:30, which is when the most important question of the day is asked: “Is it raining?” The answer is usually “yes”, but we have been lucky enough to have a few clear sunny days.
The day begins at 8 with breakfast – unless you are one of the chefs, in which case you have to be in the kitchen bright and early at 6, as cooking for more than 50 people is no easy task. After breakfast comes work detail, and everyone chips in to do chores around camp. Daily chores typically include cleaning the outhouses, fixing the water supply (shoveling snow onto tarps which will later melt for water), refrigerator maintenance (making sure the food is guarded from ravens – also known as “glacier dragons”), sweeping the buildings, picking up little bits of trash around camp, and setting out trail lunches.
After all the chores are done, it is time to head out to the glacier! We have mostly been doing safety training and improving our skiing in order to prepare for crossing the Icefield. While doing so, we have been exploring the Lemon Creek and Ptarmigan Glaciers. Depending on the day’s activities, we usually head back to camp for lectures at about 15:30. With 9 fabulous faculty members, we always have interesting things to learn about. Lecture topics have included paleoclimate, glacier dynamics, wilderness medicine, and many others. There is occasionally some free time in the afternoon, but we are usually kept pretty busy.
At 19:00, it is time for dinner! On clear days, the majority of people sit outside, enjoying an amazing view of Juneau and the surrounding mountains. The food is always delicious, thanks to the hard work of the chefs. Brownies have already been made numerous times, much to everyone’s delight. After dinner, there is usually another lecture or knot tying practice, mixed with fun events such as 4th July celebrations or the knot tying competition. And of course, if we are lucky enough to be able to see the sunset, nearly everyone gathers to watch. It’s lights out at 23:00, so we can get enough rest for the next full day. The whole group has become extremely close during our time at 17, and as we prepare to go to the next camp, Camp 10, we are all excited to see what the rest of the summer has in store.