Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - November/December 2011 - (Page 34)

Perched on a rock that shoulders the easton Glacier, I have an incredible panoramic view of the world around me. To the west, wisps of clouds brush the snow-capped peaks of the cascade Mountains overlooking the Pacific Ocean. To the south, Mt. Rainier rises to its gentle, rounded summit. I look across alpine forests, valleys, and ridges until my gaze settles on what brought me here: the glaciers around and above me. ast summer, I had the opportunity to hike and camp on Mt. Baker, a glacier-covered active volcano, through a program called Girls on Ice. Founded by Dr. Erin Pettit, Assistant Professor of Glaciology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, this program selects a team of nine high school girls from around the United States and the world every year to explore and study the glaciers and the surrounding environment in the Cascade Mountains of Washington. There, I learned to apply safe mountaineering protocol while hiking on an active volcano, investigated the alpine vegetation in the Cascades, and expanded my outlook on the natural world. Near the end of July, I left the golden prairies of Kansas for the waves and winds of the Pacific Northwest. At the Seattle airport, I met the girls with whom I would spend a week in the Cascades; the members of my team hailed from places as diverse as New York City, Alaska, Canada, and Florida. A volunteer drove us to our home for the night, a local farm tucked in the hills of Marblemount, Washington, where we met our three instructors: Dr. Pettit; Cecelia (Cece) Mortenson, a professional mountain guide; and Kari Stiles, a landscape architect and environmental planner who specializes in botany. Exhausted from the travel, my teammates and I slid into our sleeping bags as soon as we finished dinner. Early the next morning, we woke to the crowing of a rooster, ate breakfast, and then headed to Schrieber’s Meadow on the base of Mt. Baker. I could almost distinguish the summit looming 8,000 feet above me. I wondered if I’d ever reach the top as I heaved my 50-pound backpack over five miles of rocky, hilly, and snowy terrain scattered with streams. After about every 50 minutes of hiking, our team took brief breaks and replenished with granola bars, dried fruit, Gatorade, and water. Once, when my supply of water ran out, I refilled my bottle at a nearby stream partly covered with snow—something I would never have imagined doing at home. As we hiked the final mile of our journey up the Railroad Moraine (a ridge formed from the deposits of glacial till), I began to lose my breath—not just from the strenuous eight-hour hike, but from the beauty of the patches of snow-white glaciers sparkling before me. L GirLs oN iCE by Meixi Wang FliCkr_iwona_kellie 34 imagine Nov/Dec 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - November/December 2011

Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - November/December 2011
Big Questions
In My Own Words
Latin Geek
Latin in Rome
Made in Greece ... or Was It?
Classics for All
Pillaging the Past
The Aqueduct Hunters
What’s Old is News
Selected Opportunities & Resources
Girls on Ice
Nurturing a Passion for Science at the National Youth Science Camp
Off the Shelf
Word Wise
Exploring Career Options
One Step Ahead
Planning Ahead for College
Students Review
Mark Your Calendar
Knossos Game

Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - November/December 2011