V Nixie

in Below The Lights (Alaska) (17 photos)

by Corwin Prescott


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“It was a cold rainy morning when V and I began our hike out to the glacial cave where we had planned on shooting. It was supposed to be a quick hike three miles out from the west side of Mendenhall Lake, some light rock scrambling, and we would be there, but like man things that sound too easy, the directions we had been given were wrong. After traveling through the forest that dots the side of the lake and shooting briefly we took the turn off the marked trail into the back country. The first three miles went quickly, by mile four I thought we had to be getting close when we came out to a clearing in a down pour and came face to face with our "rock scrambling" a two hundred foot climb the second half of was straight up a cliff face. Not wanting to turn back and give up on our glacial shoot up we climbed. I made it somehow forty pounds of camera gear on my back and all. The next five miles we trudged up and down rocky valleys for another four miles. We finally made it to the cave after about four hours and seven miles of hiking. Not wanting to waste any time knowing we had a long hike back and dwindling day light V stripped out of her hiking cloths and began posing in front of the the intensely cold cave. The sounds of the slowly moving glacier sounding off like gun shots above our heads as we shot. After about thirty minutes we turned around and began the slow hike back. I stopped a couple of times to photograph the icebergs and Nugget Falls from a side of the lake most people don't get to expierence, and we trudged back across the silt covered mountain. For two miles we followed the cairns that mark the trail until it came to a stop at the top of a cliff, but not the cliff we had came up. We were at the top of a five hundred foot cliff looking down into the wrong valley miles from where we were supposed to be. We were lost. For the next two hours we raced against the sunset trying desperately to get back to the correct trail before night fall. We circled down the mountain multiple times contemplating the possibility that we were going to need a helicopter rescue, or be spending a wet night huddled up on the side of a mountain thousands of miles from home, alone in bear country. Thirty minutes before darkness came we finally saw it a cairn from the path we had taken out. The one we'd somehow deviated from hours before. As soon as we hit the top of our cliff I knew we had made it. We quickly scampered down and willed ourselves to keep moving the four miles back in the dark both of us hurt and exhausted from the unanticipated strain and fear from being lost. Four miles later and we collapsed into our car, thankful that we'd be spending a night n bed instead of a night awake in the cold.”

Corwin Prescott


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featuring V Nixie



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