I can safely say I’ve never been anywhere like Alaska! This ship has taken us places beyond my imagination. They can only be described in superlatives.
Everything is bigger. Everything is farther. So much is untouched and unspoiled.
I’m typing this while sitting on my balcony. My comfort level is higher, but what I’m looking at is what the explorers who first visited Alaska saw.
During our cruise through Glacier Bay a National Park Service ranger mentioned the nearest road was 65 miles away! That’s crazy. Yet it’s easy to be even farther off the beaten path.
Our trip has passed more islands than I can count. They’re actually more like mountains in a flood.
There are no meadows or plains. There is no flat land. There is water and there is slope.
Mike, our driver from Tuesday, explained how to tell how high mountains in this part of Alaska rise. The tree line is roughly 3,500 feet. Glaciers once covered this land to 5,000 feet. If a mountaintop is smooth or softly rounded it was ground by glaciers. It’s under 5,000 feet. If it’s got a sharp peak it’s taller.
One of my Mississippi State professors taught us water is the universal solvent. Nowhere is that more evident than in Alaska. Everything we see was shaped by water, often in the form of ice.
We visited three major glaciers today. A glacier is just a river of ice. Maybe I should skip the word ‘just’ because at least one of them was 250 feet high and moves seven feet a day.
I’ll be honest, at first I was disappointed in Glacier Bay. Then it hit me. I can’t explain why or when, but all of a sudden the beauty struck me. I didn’t want the ship to leave. It is among the most awesome places I’ve ever been.
I stood on the deck with my camera gear wearing a winter coat with lining, woolen socks, waterproof shoes, earmuffs and fingerless gloves. When the wind blew (and it does any time the ship’s moving) the cold cut right through me… and it’s July! No wonder this place empties out for the winter.
We’re on our way to Ketchikan. We’ll spend a half day there before the long cruise to Victoria, BC.