This week at the Forest Service here in Cordova was chock-full of training. Every year there is an early bird training week for all of the permanent and seasonal staff. We learned everything from paddle boating to bear spray safety. As part of our hazardous material (HazMat) awareness training, we got to go out to the shooting range and set off all types of flares! My favorite was the smoke flare because it created this giant plume of bright orange smoke. It’s important to know and be comfortable with setting off flares, so there’s no surprise about how to use them when you’re in a dangerous situation. Different types of flares are useful in different situations. A smoke flare is useful in a variety of environmental situations, but on a bright sunny day it is more useful than one that just has a flame because it will be more visible.
Over the weekend, I was able to go for a hike up to Sheridan Glacier Lake with Mariah. It was STUNNING! I have never been that close to a glacier before. I even got to hold a chunk of glacial lake ice in my hand! The water in the lake is cloudy and has a greenish hue to it. This “glacial milk” is created because rocks are ground up underneath the weight and movement of the glacier. The sediment is suspended in the melting waters of the glacial lake, which makes it milky. It was amazing. To top it off, at one point there was a rainbow over the glacier! On our way up to the glacier we caught a glimpse of a snowshoe hare. We didn’t even notice it until it was directly next to us because the trail was so thick with alder. It was mostly white, but we could see it had brown splotches of fur which means that it was starting to grow its summer coat. So cool!