While Alex had quite an adventure with the bikers and the biologists travelling south to Juneau, Mike Staron from Bolton, Connecticut had quite a different journey. Seven days before JIRP, Mike finished packing up all of his belongings into his Subaru Outback (most were already in there to begin with) and began the long haul across the United States to Juneau, Alaska. Navigating by sun and stars (and a little GPS help) Mike drove by himself listening to “The Bernstein Bears go to Summer Camp” on repeat, most of the time wishing that he either a.) had a driving companion or b.) brought something other than “The Bernstein Bears go to Summer Camp”.
In Minnesota, the sky darkened over Mike’s Outback and a tornado formed right over his head! Although Mike’s car got quite the shake-down, the tornado did not touch down and he continued on his journey to reach Juneau. Intending to get a little pre-JIRP recreation in before the program formally began, Mike thought, “What better place to warm up to JIRP than Glacier National Park?” However, the weather had different plans and decided to dump 2+ feet of snow in the Park so Mike scrapped those plans and resumed chasing the sunset. (Since he was about to spend two solid months on glaciers, why spend his last few days of real summer wallowing around in the snow?)
Upon arriving in Seattle, Mike’s trusty steed ran out of steam and could go no further (the clutch blew). Luckily, this was the end of the paved road and Mike boarded a plane for Juneau. On June 23rd Mike was greeted at Juneau by 2+ feet of welcoming rain as well as the rest of the JIRP students. What a journey!