Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Alaska Bits -- 21 -- Glacier Bay National Park

Our next visit--can't call it a stop, can I?--was Glacier Bay National Park. We sailed in in the morning, picking up our Park Rangers, who guided us on what we were seeing and set up a mini Visitor Center on board. You can see from the railing above what kind of weather we faced that day.
A Ranger we had worked with was at Glacier Bay this summer, but his season ended a week or so before our visit, so we missed seeing him. We had an excellent group from the Park Service, though, very knowledgeable and informative. This seal was enjoying the view, too.

Glacier Bay is a tremendous treasurehouse of tidewater glaciers. Among those we saw were the Marjorie, the Reid, and the Lampough. When Jon Muir discovered the bay in 1879, he was traveling in a canoe. I recall seeing kayaks on our previous visit ten years ago. Some sort of boat is the only way to see this natural marvel.

BTW, a hundred years before John Muir came there, explorers found a wall of ice. (Early indications of climate change? Watch for participants in Blog Action Day tomorrow who will be exploring the topic of climate change. I will be back with some other glacier pictures and climate change speculation.)

But let's get on with our visit.

Did that sound like a rifle shot? Tidewater glaciers (those that reach the water's edge) break off chunks of ice, forming icebergs. This is called calving. Perhaps that sound I heard belonged to this chunk ready to float off into the bay.

High on the wall of the bay between the glaciers forests begin to grip the cliffside. I love these mist enshrouded views.

Out on deck that day it was pretty wet. But it did not spoil the view (which could be watched on the TV nice and cozy in the cabin, too, if the rain was too much for you.) And before we left the bay the fog was lifting and clouds clearing.


imac said...

So amazing, wonderful shots.
we have booked next years cruise to the Med, Spain and Italy.

PERBS said...

Neat! That's something I did not get to see traveling aroudn Alaska in a camper.