Monday, June 21, 2010

Glacier Bay National Park, Juneau, 6/19

The day started at 4:45am (and we're an hour behind Pacific Coast time right now) when we boarded a 4-seater prop plane. We were the only passengers on the magnificent flight over the Chilkat Mountains. At times we were so close to the mountain tops that you could spot individual wildflowers. We landed in Gustavis, a tiny town on the edge of the national park, and took an all-day boat tour through Glacier Bay. Our final destination was Margerie Glacier and Grand Pacific Glacier (only 3/4 mi. from the Canadian border). However, along the way we spotted lots of wildlife. There were tons of sea otters playing in the water when we first began our ride (this was a first for us). Then we saw humpback whales, porpoises, and sea lions. As we got further into the bay, we passed a rocky hillside with several mountain goats and a couple of kids (another first...and Jenny was the eagle eye who spotted them first!). On several occasions we also observed groups of tufted puffins (ANOTHER first), which are small black birds with colorful, tucan-like beaks. Later we were told to keep a lookout for bears along a certain beach, and guess who spotted one...that's right, old eagle eye Jenny! It was a sole grizzly foraging along the waterline for mussels. We were so close that we could see him lifting up rocks in search for food. After several hours on the water we finally reached our first iceburgs and glaciers. We learned that mini-iceburgs are called "burgie bits" and "growlers." The Margerie Glacier was a towering pale blue wall of ice stretching a mile along the waterline. You could see the scrap marks that chronicled its journey down from the Brady Icefield. We saw it calve (pieces of ice break off into the water), along with many waterfalls as ice was beginning to melt. On the way back, we saw several other glaciers, including: Grand Pacific, John Hopkins, Reid, and Lampugh...all were stunning! We flew back to Juneau on another tiny plane that evening, and we were so exhausted that we fell asleep quickly that night!


Coastal Tides Photography said...

Wow! What an amazing day!

Tom said...

One terrific adventure after another!! Gabriel, How did you do on the flight?

Jenny and Gabe Bowne said...

He did surprisingly well considering how tiny the plane was, and he didn't have any trouble on the helicopter either. He was kept busy with videoing the incredible views from above!