Three Californians got eaten
alive by a blizzard
Tuesday afternoon. While visiting their buddy stationed in Fort Wainwright Military Base, they followed him on a “short and sweet hike” to the Portage Bay Glacier.
The severe snowstorm’s gusts of wind created whiteout conditions throughout the region for hours, rendering the area unsafe to enter. Sourdoughs (Alaskans who have learned to deal with harsh winters) should not have been around, let alone first timers from sun-drenched California. By the time Anchorage Search and Rescue showed up on scene, only the winter-ready soldier had survived.
—the news will read, I thought.
Trudging through whiteout conditions with 0 visibility, 0 idea of where we were, and no end in sight, my imagination roamed in morbid zone.
Will anyone ever find us? Maybe our bodies will be buried under snow.
Strangely, there was no despair attached to these thoughts. Either this is it, or it isn’t. Forget the numb fingers. Just keep going. Push onwards.
Our (unfortunately too) fearless leader Han would turn from time to time to reassure us, “We’re almost there.”
Yes, that’s snow and all things unsafe for a camera covering my lens.
Rewind a little to the starting point. We put on cross-country skis for the first time in our lives, all naive and excited. Little did we know we’d soon be swallowed by a great white whale and lose sight (along with feeling in every inch of exposed skin).
It was like the Bruce Almighty scene right after Bruce dies and arrives in heaven to find himself enveloped in white. Except Alaska one-upped Hollywood with many a sound (howling winds) and 4D effect (frigid air + snow/ice or both coming at us from every possible angle).
And then, a miracle. We found ourselves at the glacier. The only casualties? Loss of cheeks.
Thankfully, the storm began to calm down a little, and we could sort of make out what the glacier looked like.
Never has hot chocolate tasted so good.
Now I know, if Han ever claims to know where he’s going, do not trust him.
I kid, but lessons I learned about following are coming soon to a blogpost near you.