The Pièce De Résistance

07-07-2017

Kati Powell, Expedition Guide, Wilderness Adventurer

To say that Glacier Bay National Park is magnificent is quite honestly an understatement of the grandest magnitude.

Staggering, vast, otherworldly, humbling, flabbergasting, phenomenal – mere words cannot even begin to truly express the feelings one has while there. There is only one word to even describe how I feel when seeing Glacier Bay in its full sun-shiny brilliance – speechless.


Last week, we were lucky enough to experience the park dressed in all her splendor; crisp bluebird skies, decadent snowfields, delicately blooming leaves, and wildlife stirring to spring.

Flowers in Alaska

Our day began with a crisp walk in the woods along the Forest Loop with blueberries just peeking out into the world and a moose cow and calf tucked back among the spruce on what must have been a supremely squishy bed of moss.

We departed Bartlett Cove to smooth seas and a following breeze – a sailor’s dream. Cruising up bay, we saw sanguine sea otters relaxing on their backs, munching away on lunchtime treats, delicate Arctic terns flitting across the skies, and a multitude of sun-dappled mountain goats nibbling on delicate lichens on their vertical garden on gloomy granite.

Hiking in Alaska

As the Wilderness Adventurer cruised ever northward, we began to finally see the reasons we were all here – glaciers.

First came Reid Glacier, followed by my favorite river of ice, Lamplugh, and then to the piece de resistance, Margerie Glacier.

Margerie Glacier in Alaska

As I stood on the bridge wing, desperate to take in every serac and crevasse the eye could see, the view suddenly got even better.

Previously hidden behind a light dusty layer of cloud, Mt. Fairweather was revealed; the crown jewel of Glacier Bay and a peak that very few people are blessed enough to see. To say that my eyes misted with happy tears may sound utterly cliché, but no truer statement has ever been uttered.

Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

We spent a beautiful half an hour with Margerie, mesmerized by her luminous blue glow and her fragile yet strong face, before we finally had to turn away to start steaming toward our anchorage for the evening.

As our bow was slowly swinging away from the stately glacier, someone spotted it – the cutest thing I’ve ever witnessed.

Bears in Glacier Bay, Alaska

On the slopes of a crusty snow patch at the base of a jagged avalanche chute, a mother brown bear and her twin second-year cubs frolicked. The cubs fiercely wrestled, slipping and sliding and sledding their way around on the snow.

Momma watched them and continued to lumber lazily across the slope. Soon, the cubs galloped after her, tackling her, and beginning to nurse. We watched the ensuing cuddle puddle until the adorable fluffy family made their way homeward.

Bears in Alaska

There are no words to adequately describe a day in Glacier Bay – the only way to even come close is to experience it with your own eyes.



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