Fed by melting glaciers, the Lake George Basin used to flood almost every summer when the advancing Knik Glacier dammed the outflow. Its landscape was repeatedly scoured by violence—calving ice, seiches and tsunamis, and the explosive outburst when the dam inevitably broke. As a result, not much grows along its rim. And yet, I flew into the basin on a late August day in search of fall colors and found a stand of mature alders thriving on a small headland. The discovery was startling—much different than the tundra and low brush I expected. Something had protected this small forest from inundation over decades. With some difficulty, I finally found the angle that displayed an extreme contrast. A gentle woodland against implacable ice age.