I am totally enamored. Or back in time. Or maybe both. After a spine-jarring two hour drive on a dirt and gravel road, we stopped at a bridge over a clear, rushing stream. The bridge is just wide enough for someone to walk or bike over it, so we grabbed our backpacks and continued on foot along the dirt road into the lovely village of McCarthy, which is home to just 28 people (as of the 2010 census), and the fantastic Wrangell Mountains Center. At first glance, it appears to be a frontier town as you might imagine seeing a couple hundred years ago. But today, even though McCarthy has amenities like wifi access, this place is still a frontier. It is a frontier not only for adventurers and potential new residents seeking a quieter life in a stunning landscape, but it is also a fronier for scientific discovery. Being at the foot of mountains and glaciers, it is a perfect place for a glaciology summer school. McCarthy will serve as home base, campground, conference center and lecture hall, and the place where we will all learn more about this dynamic environment, how changes in climate affects it, and how changes in it in turn affect the world.
Here is a little tour of McCarthy. It won’t take long, but you will be instantly enamored too.