It is just a group of tin buildings on a rock. A rock that is in the middle of the Juneau Icefield and overlooks the Gilkey trench, one of the most magnificent views you could ever imagine. A glacier stretches as far as the eye can see, eventually turning around a steep-sided mountain and disappearing from view. Two thin moraines of black and grey rock mar the surrounding ice, indicating where three glaciers have converged into one. We were told that on these moraines were boulders the size of houses, but from our vantage point they looked like pebbles. This is the location of Camp 18, one of the many camps that participants in the Juneau Icefield Research Project visit.
This camp allowed us to live for two weeks in one of the most remote places possible, accessible only by skis or helicopter. A small pond formed by melting snow was our water source. Our food had to be delivered by helicopter, and a square cut into a nearby snowbank was our refrigerator. Tin buildings offered us shelter, a place to eat and sleep. However, we often chose to eat our breakfast outside gazing over the immense quantities of ice, and slept under the stars, hoping for a night where we would be fortunate enough to see the Aurora Borealis dance above our heads, or at least counting shooting stars until we fell asleep.
In summer 2014, this place inspired us to continue to find our own adventures, and instilled a desire to protect magnificent places like this one. We were able to stand looking out over a sea of white, the only people for miles being ourselves. But how much longer will this icefield look the way I remember it, and how many more people will be able to be exposed to its beauty? Will it eventually shrink and fade away, like almost all the other glaciers across the globe? All I have left of this remarkable place are pictures, memories, and a worn and water stained map, but at least I am lucky enough to have that much.