Monday, July 7, 2008

Firecrackers & Bar-B-Q's, not really; another walk in the woods

While most Americans spread out their blankets and opened up lawn chairs to watch the Fourths festivities, we packed up our rucksacks, grabbed a few bags of granola, threw some puppy chow in Jack and Jasper's saddle bags, and took the station wagon to the mountains. Don't worry, I wore my red, white, and blue G.I. Joe underpants, and after 14 months in combat, I can sort of take a break from the norm when it comes to various holidays, doing what I want to do...

So, what did I learn; a fat finger on the map does always look the same on the ground. What seemed to be an easily accessible glacier and peak, turned into the bushwhack from hell. After spending three hours barely moving 1.5 miles, we called it quits and turned back to base camp. In case you were wondering, yes, Glacier Creek water is very cold, and though it makes sense, no you shouldn't hike up stream with sandals for hours. Ok, here's a test, take that cooler full of left over Coor's Light from this weekend, fill it halfway with water, then add about 15lbs of ice, mix it up, then stick your foot in there for about an hour, go ahead and wiggle your toes periodically to ensure you still have feeling. That's what walking up the creek to Flute Glacier felt like, also known as the South Fork of the Eagle River. But yes, every Sapper has a plan B, I shall not be defeated. I will return with rubber waist high over boots and wool socks underneath. We will reach Flute Glacier, and we will top out at 7000ft on Eagle Peak, the most stunning of peaks overlooking the valley we live in.

Enjoy the photos.

Jack and Jasper posing it up at Eagle lake, with the glacier moraine and Eagle Peak present in the background, barely obscured by the clouds
Gretchen above Eagle Lake, looking south east out of the valley towards home.
Jack taking one of his many breaks;
Jasper ready to go on...

Peak Business; a link-up of The Ramp & The Wedge

The Ramp, approx. 5100ft, located on the north side of Hidden Lake Valley, further down the ridge line from O'Malley Peak, north west of Avalanche Peak, south of Williwaw Lakes.

Nice summit shot
The wind blowing over the saddle of the two peaks was approx 40-50mph gusts.
Summit shot on The Wedge, approx 4600ft, south of The Ramp

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Ever wonder what teachers do in the summer?

Having the summer off has its advantages, especially when you live in Alaska. Gretchen and five other school district employees spent five days paddling Harriman Fjords where they had glassy smooth waters, glaciers calving, whales breaching and eagles soaring.

Gretchen, Elaine, Susan, Sue, Charlotte and Lisa loaded up and ready to leave Whittier.

Gretchen paddling by Surprise Glacier. Our first campsite looked across the water to this glacier and we heard the thunderous crashes of it claving all night long.

The calving glaciers caused some icey waters! At times it was like paddling through a maze.
From left to right, Cascade, Barry and Coxe Glaciers

After three days of rain we had two beautiful days of sunshine! It even cleared up enough that we saw the peak of a 7,000 ft. mountain that had been hiding in the clouds.

Sunbathing Alaska style = in a dry suit on a piece of ice

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Army's 3 Newest Captains

LTC Roth speaks about 1LT (P) Chamberlain

The orders for promotion to Captain are read, followed by LTC Scott removing my old rank, and "pinning" on my new rank.

Gretchen pins the new rank on my Airborne maroon beret.

My favorite part, the kiss.

My short and sweet acceptance speech, basically thanking all the fine officers I've worked with the past three years, and the amazing Non-Commissioned officers.
LTC Scott makes sure Ryan feels his new rank with a nice punch to the chest.
LTC Scott pins on Tylers new "Captains bars".SAPPERS LEAD THE WAY!!!!

The 3 newest Captains with our first "Sapper 6", CPT Johnson

Mountaineers Lead The Way, with CPT Josh Lewis, soon to be Mr. Lewis.

Tyler and I with Sergeant First Class Shaw, our first Platoon Sergeant (aka Sapper Daddy)

Tyler and Frank enjoying the fine Moose's Tooth Northern Lights Amber in our special glasses made by Ashleigh Hintz.

Oh dang, we started doing keg stands...

Tyler celebrates, "we finished the keg!!!"

Time for bed.