NOLS Alaska Mountaineering – Day 11
Horray!! The re-ration plane has come!!
Haha ok a little bit excited there. I’ll start off with the very beginning of the day.
So first I woke up and boiled some water for hot drinks. It was so cool – last night we made a refrigerator in our snow kitchen, and put a full drum and pot of water in, and then closed them up with snow. This morning, everything outside the tent (including my shoelaces) was frozen solid, but when I opened the fridge, the pot and drum hadn’t frozen! I was amazed!
So we made hot drinks, and then got all of our leftover food and trash together for the re-ration. The pilot was a little late, but when he finally came I got three videos of him: two circling over, and one of him taking off. We quickly thanked the pilot, and brought the food from the plane and runway to the inside of the camp’s perimeter, and sorted the food.
Next we refilled things like the spice kits, and I was in charge of refilling the peanut-butter and butter. I found out that not only had I sent myself some fruit strips, but I had also sent beef jerky! Thanks me!
Then we all learned that since the elevation and cold made our metabolisms speed up, NOLS put more beef jerkey in our rations as well as increased our food from 1.75lbs/person/day to 2.25lbs/person/day. Yes there will be more to carry, but it’s only a six day ration (unlike last time, which was supposed to be 8), so it won’t be bad. We also got treats like malted milk balls and jelly beans for the Fourth of July.
I also have new tent mates and switched tents. Now I sleep and eat with Geoff, Amil and JP. They’re really nice, so I’m quite happy. We made mac & cheese as our first new tent group meal, and then made observations with our old tent group and instructors as to what each person might improve on. Mainly my group said I should cook more, and then tried to make it sound bad that I’d told the instructors about the fireweed (though the instructors thought it was pretty funny at the time). Andy (one of the instructors) told them “so you disrespect a camper for following rules? Hmmm…”
Next, we had more class and learned about how to belay up steep terrain as a rope team. Then we talked more about leadership skills. After that, we chilled out for a couple hours, and I read quite a bit. Then we had a huge pizza party in the classroom (a big snow table we made with snow benches carved around it) and my tent group made the BIGGEST pizza that tasted like La Rosa’s!
Now we’re all getting ready for bed and melting snow since we have to be up tomorrow at 5am to pack and leave by 7am. This is so we can get into the new camp area just before the pass out of the Mackalren glacier before the snow melts and gets sticky/slushy at midday. We’ll camp there for a night and then haul on over to the basin where base camp will be for four days. From there we’ll get our second re-ration, and then hike on the Black Rapids glacier due West. Finally after our last re-ration, we’ll head South back to the trailhead to go home. I’m getting more and more comfortable in this unfamiliar environment, and so much more relaxed since we’ve stocked up on food (so much I pooped for the first time in three days right after the pilot left haha!). The beauty of these mountains in all this snow is incredible! Really, the pictures just don’t do them justice.
Well I’d better get to sleep so I can get up bright and early tomorrow, so I’ll write back from the camp at the pass!