Good thing Aki isn’t here. She would have given up a half a mile back when we started post holing our way across a braided section of the Herbert River. She is in her doctor’s office, getting her teeth cleaned. Ahead the Herbert Glacier hangs above a scree field. My friend and I left our skis where the trail became too icy.
Not too many years ago we could have reached the glacier itself in conditions like this. That was before it retreated up the hill above the river.
We push on across the snowing plain, stepping in the footprints left an hour earlier by a group of co-eds from an Iowa College. We met the ladies at Four Kilometer Pond while they rested on their way back to their van. They were spending their spring break in Juneau doing volunteer work. After we left them at the lake, I wished that we had pointed out the moose tracks on the pond.
The co-ed’s tracks end at a small stream of open water that blocks access to the scree field. While we eat lunch I try to work out a route to the glacier’s toe. Even if we could cross the stream and manage to cross the scree field without breaking an ankle, there would still be a third class climb to reach the ice. Somehow that doesn’t matter on this clear, sunny day.