Of Ice and Air

 On Sunday afternoon coach Liam Cassidy and I took the Haines High cross-country team to the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, and even these Alaskan kids were wowed by its rough beauty and force. The weather helped, (we were in summer clothes) so did a pretty girl in shorts riding a mountain-tired unicycle out on the gravel bars in front of the lake and glacier. We listened to the thrum of the big waterfall for a long time, and it was so pleasantly mild that the cool mist from it was welcome. On the lake,  a regatta of blue ice bergs drifted in the nearly calm water. As we looked at the edge of the 13 mile river of ice, Liam  told the team to breathe deeply. He said that when he looks at a glacier he doesn't think so much about the ice, rather, all the air caught in that ice. He said that the air being released from the glacier when it calves into the lake is so old that it's cleaner than any other air. He said when we breathe it in, we are inhaling oxygen thousands of years old. It is the cleanest air you'll ever breathe, he said.
The teams did very well at the meet in Juneau on Saturday, the boys were third behind Juneau and Sitka and the girls were fifth. Both teams have a shot at qualifying for the state championships at the regional meet this weekend at Totem Park in Sitka. The weather is expected to change by then, with windy rain in the forecast. While I was away, Chip (with Roger and Parker's help) shot a moose, so we had tenderloin steaks for dinner last night.


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