Last year I hiked to Donoho with four friends: Anna, Alecia, and Irish Paul, a photographer who came to visit Alaska from Ireland. Paul came to McCarthy to visit for a few days with his friends, at the beginning of the summer as they road-tripped Alaska, but when it came time for them all to pull out of town, Paul decided he would stay on for the summer and camp down by the river in a cheap Costco tent. The tent washed out in a flood, but Paul proved more resilient, staying on until the end of the summer.
Hiking the glacier is hard work. With each step, I dig the sharp teeth of my crampons into the ice. This year, hiking solo, the sun is barely luminous through the clouds, just a little glowing orb. As if one que, though, it all opens up once I’m on the other side, hiking into Donoho Basin.
It’s worth it, though. After navigating a creek crossing, I think about how i love the silence of these places, pushing out farther than most people go. It’s one of the things that keeps me coming back to Alaska, summer after summer.