“The very thought of this, my first Alaskan Glacier Garden, is an exhilaration”. As John Muir, the writing of this article brings back unforgettable memories. The magnificence of glacier is incredible and I was lucky to discover Glacier Bay and Hubbard Glacier. Nature lovers, hold your breath for this wonderful icy experience!
A pinch of history
- 95% of Alaska’s glaciers are “currently thinning, stagnating, or retreating” (National Park Service).
- The ice looks blue because of light scattering.
- John Muir was the first to visit Glacier Bay in 1879 and to perform research.
- Glacier Bay is a National Park since 1980 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1992.
- In 1890, Hubbard Glacier is named after Gardiner G. Hubbard, first president of the National Geographic Society.
Glacier Bay National Park
As Glacier Bay is a National Park, the ship welcomed onboard local park rangers. It was great to have lovers and experts sharing knowledge and passion about the park. Hence we attended a conference to comprehend Glacier Bay: history, glaciers formation, ecology, etc. Ouah so interesting! Just after, we ascended on the upper deck to discover our first scenic glacier of the cruise, Glacier Bay. As we were observing it, the rangers, over the loudspeaker, offered narration about the sights and features.
One of the highlights is to witness carving when chunks of ice at the edge of a glacier break and collapse into the sea. It’s spectacular. Listening to the ice cracks and plunges is a memorable experience. Unfortunately, I only captured it with my eyes, not my camera.
250 years ago one large glacier covered all Glacier Bay, today they are 50 named glaciers covering 27% of the park.
I will spare you a long poetic description as pictures will speak for by themselves
Hubbard Glacier, the “Galloping Glacier”
Hubbard Glacier is advancing toward the Gulf of Alaska, gaining the nickname “galloping glacier. “It also won the title of largest tidewater glacier in North America being 76 miles (122 kilometers) long and 1,200 feet deep in the bay.
What a beautiful weather to admire these massive ice walls. As we navigated closer, our sense of scale emerged.
Sounds like a spectacular glaciers viewing?
- Bring binoculars to observe closely and discover wildlife and ice formations.
- Be quiet and listen to nature’s sounds, it is magic!
- There is no prime viewing balcony spot as the captain rotates the ship during glacier observing.
- Switch view and impression by going on the upper and lower deck.
- Surprisingly, it can be cold and even rainy, so don’t forget your jacket, gloves, and beanie!