Thursday, August 16, 2012

Matanuska Glacier

We decided to get closer to the Matanuska Glacier. You wanted to come, right?
 Then hop in Birdie's car because first we have to drive down to it....on this road.
 Hope we don't meet anybody coming up.
 Cross this bridge,
 And glance back at the road we came down.
After paying our $15 fee to drive and hike out on the glacier, we start out on the road. We pass fireweed and ice.
 Cross over this stream.
 And finally arrive at the parking area for our hike.
The trail out on the glacier is marked with orange cones... portable so they can be moved as the glacier changes.
We start down the trail from the parking lot, dressed in warm layers befitting a glacier visit. Hope you brought your walking stick.
We pass over hills of glacial, gravel, and silt. The plants that are beginning to grow here remind me of a post volcanic landscape, such as Mount Saint Helens.
 Do you see the cone and the trail? Are your boots waterproof?
 Ok, here we go.
 Reflection in a glacial pool.
 Water is flowing under the ice over there...can you hear it?
 Look for the next cone.
 Turn around and see how far you've come.
 Another pool of melted glacier reflecting the mountains.
 We're getting closer.
 Watch your step, Birdie!
 Can you see the next cone?
 Watch out for holes.
 There's water flowing all around.
 Under the ice.
 Glad we remembered the hiking sticks.
 Sort of moonscape, except for the sounds of rushing water.
 They'll probably have to move these soon.
 Kind of wet along here.
Keep following the cones.
 There's a bridge ahead.
 Where water is carving the ice. You can see we're already on the glacier.
 The ice is so loaded with silt and gravel that it looks like dirt. This part is really slippery...stay to the right as far as you can.
 Glancing back at that bridge.
 Don't slip into the crevasses.
 More moonscape.
 We're getting closer...climb up this pile.
 Then look back again. We're all alone out here.
 Watch out for cracks.
 Oh how nice...picnic tables! Did you bring lunch?
 Here comes Birdie.
 This is as far as it's safe to walk without special equipment and a guide.
 So here I am on Matanuska Glacier. Please ignore my latest bad haircut. 
 Large boulders are being moved along by the glacier.
 Along with all these little stones.
 There are no more orange cones.
 See the blue ice in the crevasse?
 The sun is glistening on the top of the glacier.

This group is going out further with a guide. They have been supplied with proper equipment....crampons, hard hat, etc.

We however, will follow those cones back to the parking lot.
 Back past the swift flowing water,

 Back across the foot bridge,
 Just follow the cones, you can do it.
 Sounds like a waterfall over there.
 Say goodbye to the glacier.
 Just one more hill to the parking lot.
 And we drive back down the road,
 Past the fiery fireweed,
 Across the wooden bridge and...up to the top of that cliff!
You did great!


  1. That was great Liz! So exciting!

  2. That was a unique experience. When people picture glaciers, I think they usually picture pristine white ice but the reality is quite a bit different. Great post.

  3. Very cool! The fireweed looks like summer is coming to a close there in AK. I love the first reflection picture!

  4. Thanks for taking me along since we bypassed that experience!

  5. I loved this, Liz! Thanks for sharing your experience in such a creative way. Most of my travels will be solo, and this hike looks safer if using a buddy system, so it might not be in my cards. You've helped me see it through your eyes, though, so it won't be as disappointing if I don't get to do it.