Skiing Mendenhall Lake to Mendenhall River

Bill Hanson with Mendenhall River & Mt. Bullard in background
Mendenhall River & Mount Bullard (1,288 meters; 4,225 ft.) behind Bill Hanson. I’m standing about 6 meters (20 feet) above sea level.

Kate Troll, Nellie the Sheltie, and I skied around the shoreline of Mendenhall Lake a few days ago to the outlet where the Mendenhall River originates.

A little over a century ago, we would have been under the ice of the Mendenhall Glacier in this spot. Today, the glacier is 3.5 Km (2.2 miles) away and receding rapidly. Sometime in the next few years, it will no longer touch Mendenhall Lake, and icebergs will disappear.

Snow was beautiful, but has now given way to light rain. I’m thankful that I skied when the skiing was wonderful. Like many other places in Juneau, we treasure the beauty of our landscape—a new, magical view with nearly every kick of the skis.

We tried skiing on the lake and ran into slushy overflow beneath pristine fluffy snow. First job – scraping ice caked on our skis. Second—adjusting plan to ski the shoreline. Kate and I both have waxing skis. Mine are about 45 years old (!)—Fisher Europa 77’s—sort of like driving a steam-powered car—heavy and long, but still have camber and metal edges, so I like them fine.

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William Arthur Hanson (Bill Hanson) is an Alaskan writer who searches for the roots of life in landscapes and the inhabitants they shape. He draws on 30 years as a biologist, forester, and ecologist. He has worked from the rainforests of Southeast Alaska to the subarctic taiga of the Interior. His writing mixes his deep knowledge of Alaska with people and places from his worldwide travels to Vietnam, Russia, Mexico, Ecuador, Europe, Malaysia, and much of the United States.

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