Our last two days we spent touring ice.
We were on a boat for 9 hours on that Friday touring the glaciers. On the way back to Seward I recalled having seen some sort of National Geographic bit on glaciers a few years ago, and I realized that I had misinterpreted their footage… I somehow had forgotten that the glaciers are settled into humongous mountains and such. I like the photos I took, but they fail to capture to enormity of the landscape.
As you approach the Northwestern Fjord the captain of the boat announces that the water you’re currently on was originally how far out the glacier was in so and so year. It’s astounding how much it has receded and you start thinking “has this happened because I use aerosol hair spray and sometimes leave the air conditioning running when I’m not home?” Or, at least this is what I was thinking about. The captain goes on to share this story about how when talking to a glaciologist, the man said melting is inevitable… how would you feel if the glacier was advancing? This gave me a few things to think about. Which scenario of the apocalypse would I rather live in? The Ice Age or something like living on the torrid surface of Venus? Are these existential questions too much for you? Especially the bit about the aerosol hair spray?
Also, it was overcast the day we took the Kenai Fjords tour. The glacier appears more blue on cloudy days. Something about reflecting light and such. It looks like styrofoam, no?
Exit Glacier was the chance to get up closer by foot. You can drive to a lot at the base of the glacier, and then there are a few trail options to get to some look out points. The Harding Ice Field trail is there, and takes 6-8 hours to reach the summit, where Brother told me “you look out and as far as you can see there is ice. Unfortunately, we were flying out of Anchorage at 8pm that night, so seeing the ice field wasn’t going to happen. But, we did see a black bear in a rather busy area of the trail.
No one was mauled. Brother has a gun, which he was carrying. My dad took a picture of the bear as it lumbered across the trail. It was very anticlimactic. Later on, Brother and I hiked further up the trail and the closest I got to some real wildlife was a muskrat that was either deaf or rabid. Brother shook some leaves to get it to move off the trail after clapping failed to rouse it.
Alaska is beautiful. Vacation was awesome.
Other photo posts from my Alaska vacation:
Anchorage 2 (and the drive to Seward down Route 1),
AND… the complete set (including photos I didn’t post here) on flickr