TITLE: Glacier Landing at Mount McKinley, Alaska
By Bella Rossiter
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What an exciting feeling climbing into the K2 Aviation ten-passenger aircraft! Our group of 20-somethings, plus me, a retired great grandmother, are lifting off over the gorgeous McKinley mountain range to land on Ruth Glacier. We fasten our seat belts and clamp on headphones to listen to the pilot commentary naming the vast array of jagged peaks. The plane dips and glides smoothly to a stop on its snow skis. We are on top of a world glittering like jewels in the sunlight.
One by one we cautiously back down the hanging ladder with moon boots flopping. We sink shin-bone deep into the pristine crunch of deep snow. Our breath spurts forth in puffy bursts, and giggles echo from the snow-angel impressions being sculpted in childlike delight.
During our half hour exploring the glacier, we trek over to a climbing party reclining against their gear. Within minutes we hear the drone of another plane approaching as it lowers for a landing. This is the air taxi that will fly the party off of the mountain and into the town of Talkeentna.
We retrace our trampled tracks, and pause along the way to take “just a few more pictures.” It’s heart-wrenching to leave this glacial paradise behind. We are quiet on the half hour return journey and I softly hum a sweet tune I learned long ago.
“I sing the mighty power of God that made the mountains rise,
that spread the flowing seas abroad and build the lofty skies.
I sing the wisdom that ordained the sun to rule the day,
The moon shines full at his command, and all the stars obey.”
It seems appropriate somehow...
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