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See You Soon on Matanuska Glacier

a truck with a mountain in the background

See You Soon on Matanuska Glacier

The Changing of Seasons

There is something both empty and full about the end of an adventure, but we will see you soon on Matanuska Glacier. This morning Jay, a MICA guide, left base for the season. He spent his last night working late on the ice to get in one last training and earn his “Level 2” guide status. By the time he was back at base the entire MICA crew was gathered around a campfire. It was like we had an unspoken agreement to be together that night.

We reminisced about the past, dreamed about the future and soaked in the last night of our full staff. Jay smiled as we congratulated him on testing as a Level 2 guide. This was accompanied with teasing him for the ridiculous amount of meat he consumes and we all caught him at a moment where we could say our independent ‘goodbye for now’s. 

The Next Step

When I caught Jay I was hit with reality: someone I respect, admire, find hilarious, and who I am honored to call a friend is leaving and I don’t know if I’ll see him again. Of course we all hope to be working at MICA next season, but a lot can change from September to May. We can’t make any meaningful promises to one another about the future; especially in this industry where we live from adventure to adventure and fly by the seat of our pants.

Some people say that’s the magic of this life. You meet

three people walking across a glacier

A few guides traverse across the glacier and learn more about the glacier environment together.

people, get to know and love them, and after the adventure you go your separate ways. Simultaneously, knowing you’ve got another friend somewhere out there. While there is texting, calling, Facetime, and other modern communications, a lot of us don’t like looking at our phone screens longer than absolutely needed.

More importantly, we are probably completely wrapped up in our current adventure, meeting and becoming a part of whatever scene we are now living in. I know that’s what I love about this life; the genuine and full commitment to what life is right front of you. It’s being fully immerged in your environment that makes the adventure life changing, and the goodbyes sting.

The Remnants of Summer

In saying goodbye to Jay I realized how much knowing and working with him has taught me, and how heavy my heart is as the season wraps up. Tomorrow Mel and Adam leave. I am realizing how much I am going to miss Mel’s goofy smile, work ethic, and sense of humor. I am going to miss Adam’s folk music, commitment to training first year guides, and hearing him respond to (nearly) everything by saying “word!” There is not a single person here I am not going to miss dearly for one reason or another. And in all these ‘goodbye for now’s I am really realizing what incredible people I have met, and people I get to call my friends. 

I am sitting in the guide hut, trying to think of some way to share my experience this summer. I am left without words. Life feels like a secret here, something that cannot really be expressed. On my first day I rode in the van with Wes in the seat behind me. We asked each other what we were looking forward to most this season.

We both mentioned how we hoped to become a community, and really get to know everyone here. The way you only do when you’re living and working with the same people you regularly trust your life with. All I have to say is we got everything we hoped for, and so much more.

Author: Nell Decker