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Cruising with the Park Reindeer


By Brock Munson, expedition leader, Safari Quest

It was day five on board the Safari Quest, the eve of our journey into Glacier Bay National Park. As I do each and every night, I made an announcement of our itinerary for the next day to the passengers as they were enjoying their evening dessert. It was a fun, high-energy group throughout the week, at times focused, other times boisterous, but always very inquisitive. They all got along with each other quickly and became friends immediately after embarkation.

“We will be entering Glacier Bay very early in the morning,” I said. “At 7AM we will be making a brief stop at Bartlett Cove, the headquarters of the National Park, to pick up a Park Ranger who will be onboard for the next day and a half. The Ranger will be a great resource for all of you regarding the geology, glaciology, animals and plants of Glacier Bay. You all will formally meet the Ranger at tomorrow’s breakfast.”

I noticed a look of concern on one of the passengers next to me. Then she raised a hesitant hand. “Yes, Sue?” I said. “Do you have a question?”

In a sweet Australian accent she candidly, yet emphatically, asked, “Are you serious?! You mean to tell me there’s going to be a Reindeer on the boat!”

The passengers erupted in laughter for the next 15 minutes non-stop! I could hardly finish my briefing. People could not contain themselves! Some were crying with laughter. Comments were thrown around the room: “I hope her name isn’t Rudy…” and “When we see the Ranger we’ll say ‘I expected you to be a bit furrier’”… The comments and laughter went on and on.

The ranger

Unbeknownst to the passengers, we rigged up antlers for the Ranger to wear during her introduction.

The reindeer ranger

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