"A mind once stretched by a new idea can never regain its original dimensions." ~Oliver Wendall Holmes

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

This is what I really meant by touch a glacier!

The next day after arriving in Juneau, I did the helicopter glacier trek. I got all geared up with a group of other tourists and made my way over to the awaiting helicopter.
On the way to the glacier, we had many splendid views of the scenery.

Below is Auke Lake and Auke Bay. The university that I'm a attending is the group of buildings in between Auke Lake and Auke Bay. On the left middle of the picture. The dorms are the group of buildings on the far right middle edge of the picture. Everyday we have to walk through bear infested woods to get down to the university for class.
Before we went to the glacier that we were hiking on, we went to Herbert glacier. It was beautiful. The dark line running down the center is called the medial morraine. It is the spot where the ice from the two glaciers that combine come together. It is all the dirst and rocky material that the two glaciers scraped on the edges of the mountains as they move down the ice field.
Here you can see the waves in the ice from the movement of the glacier. Pretty cool. The ice field that makes up the glacier is the size of Rhode Island. There are 38 named glaciers that make up the ice field. The average depth of the ice is 1000ft.
A beautiful mountain valley.
another great view of the ocean
I got to ride up front. It was awesome!
When we got to the glacier, the first thing we did was put on a helmet and the second thing we did was put on crampons. Crampons are metal spike that are strapped to the bottom of your boots. They did a good job of keep us from falling on the ice.
Just to give you an idea of how big this part of the glacier is....can you see the people hiking up the left side of the glacier? No? Take a closer look...They are the little dots right in the middle of the picture about a third of the way up. Pretty big glacier, eh? This part of the glacier is called an ice fall. It's like a water fall, but with ice. There is a cliff right here and as the ice moves down the mountain, the ice falls over the cliff.
This is the base camp...the area where the helicopter lands and the tent for basic supplies is set up. You can see part of the city and the ocean from this view.
These extra blue parts are the parts where the white frosty ice on the top has melted away to uncover the more densely packed glacier ice underneath.
This was a crevass that we hike through.
There were pristine, clear little streams and waterfalls all over the glacier from melt runoff.
Glacier ice is 10 times more dense that regular ice. That is why blue is the only color that is reflected off the of the ice. Blue light has a shorter wavelength and, therefore, more energy and is the only color that can escape the crystalline structure of the ice.

This is actually a hole filled with water. The water is so clear that you cant even see it in the picture. It was so much more amazing that it looks in the picture.
We got to fill up our water bottles with this amazing, perfectly clear water.
I did it!!! I conquered the glacier. and completed Number 3 the way it was intended to be completed when I wrote it.
As we take off in the helicopter, the next group prepares to hike the glacer ice flow.
The glacier from the air.
The Mendenhall Glacier and Mendenhall Lake below it
What an amazing experience!!! I'm glad I choose to do this for one of my activities. If you come to Juneau, you should do it!!!


Luke said...

That is an amazing adventure and I am very envious of you. When I travelled to New Zealand I had the chance to hike across a glacier after being dropped by a helicopter. But for the 3 days I was waiting it was nothing but heavy rains and storms so I only got to see the base of it (it the rain, mind that was still great.
Ah well, there is always next time. :)

Belle said...

Loved the story and the photos. I've been to Alaska on a cruise ship and loved it.

Crystal said...

"Awesome," that is sooo cool! The pics are Beautiful. Your a brave women to be doing that. I would be so scared. I love your blog don't give it up for Facebook. Talk to ya later I gotta get cleaning. love Ya

Anonymous said...

I love the pics!!! That is one awsome experience!! I dont think I could ever do that.....but thats why you are so amazing!!!I am glad to see you having such a good time!!


Cindi said...

awesome...thx so much for sharing your beautiful state to us!!!