Playing on the Glacier


Our three days at the Don Sheldon Mountain House on the Ruth Glacier in Denali National Park, Alaska, were fabulous!  Not only did we have spectacular weather, clear skies and plenty of sunshine, but it was calm and silent.  It was magical.  In the distance we would hear the occasional crack of ice, or thud of a small avalanche, but other than that it was quiet.  Once an airplane flew over way up high, and one day a sightseeing flight landed on the glacier far below.  People got out for a few minutes walked around and took pictures, then they were on gone.  They really had no idea what it was like to stay out here, or that we were even there.  It was an awesome time.

We were like kids, free to do anything we wanted, whenever we wanted, limited only by our skills and strength.  We skied a bit, but found the little plastic sleds to be the best fun of all.  One day we sledded all afternoon at break neck speed down the hill, coasting for what seemed like miles along the slick, smooth surface of the glacier.  Over and over we trudged to the top and sped back down until we fell exhausted in a heap, laughing and tired from the silliness.  Gone were our worries of isolation, we reveled in it instead.  We actually found ourselves hoping for a weather front to come in so that we could stay longer, but instead we were blessed with perfect weather, and before we knew it our time at the hut was over.  As soon as we loaded everything back into the airplane for our return to Talkeetna, I began to miss the Don Sheldon amphitheater with it’s little house on the rocky ridge, and vowed to return someday.

This happened in 1997, and unfortunately we haven’t been back.  It is so important to make the very most of every experience we have in life, because we are given no guarantees that it will last.  Live in the moment, laugh a lot, and be thankful.  If you have never had the opportunity to know Alaska, you have missed something very special and a part of life.  Alaska, the last frontier and the subject of my work for more than three decades, the land that I love.

Gail Niebrugge, Alaska artist

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Noella Ross says:

    Out of this world! Just wonderful, Gail, and I am so glad you reminisced and shared this experience. I have sent your blog address and link to my friend who accompanied me to Alaska in 2005 to help my Aunt. We had 3 wonderful days riding the train to Denali National Park, a full day on the shuttle in the Park, and back to Anchorage.

    By the way, did I tell you I named my adopted kitten, Denali? She is white with brown and black patches.

  2. Thanks Noella,

    I think Denali is a great name for a kitten 🙂

Speak Your Mind