Saturday, August 20, 2011


I've always wanted to see a glacier, especially since there's all the concern over how global warming will impact them. While we were in Alaska I definitely got to see all kinds of glaciers and they were pretty fantastic!

Early in the week we drove out to hike around on the Matanuska glacier which was amazing, apparently it is the largest glacier accessible by car in the US. From the car there was a little bit of a hike to get to the part that actually looked like a glacier, I'm pretty sure we were walking on ice the whole time but it felt like another planet or at least more along the lines of a rock quarry :) 
You couldn't really appreciate the glacier until you got up close to it, it's absolutely massive (something like 4 miles wide!) and the texture on the ice is incredible!
The ice also has a blue quality and sometimes looks like its glowing. The blue color has something to do with the compression and how far the light waves absorb into the ice. It looks even more blue on overcast days.

You can also see it was a bit chilly as I'm wearing a scarf in August :)
It was really neat to see how water carves through the glaciers. There are also little pock marks on the surface where rocks have heated up in the sunlight and then slowly melted down into the ice. The whole glacier was so diverse and like a giant playground for us to explore!
If walking around on the Matanuska glacier wasn't enough later in the week we went on a glacier cruise. We drove to Whittier and got on a boat to tour the glaciers in the Prince William Sound. The boat ride out to the glaciers was beautiful!
And it provided lots of wildlife sightings :)
We saw seals and sea otters everywhere. There was also a mountain goat sighting but they were so far up the mountain you could only see them with binoculars. I took a picture but it just looks like white blurs in the greenery. Instead, here's a picture of a few of the multitude of sea otters.
Once we got closer to the glaciers it was so overcast and foggy that it almost felt mystical.
See what I mean about the crazy blue color!
The cruise we were on was called the 26 glacier cruise so we got to see plenty of glaciers. Definitely an awesome experience :)

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