Amazing Glaciers, Exciting Wildlif....

Trip Start May 27, 2013
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Trip End Aug 09, 2013


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Flag of United States  , Alaska
Monday, July 15, 2013

On Saturday we started our adventure with a drive along the Richardson Highway to Valdez. At mile 45, the road started to climb to Thompson Pass, 2800 feet above sea level where we stopped to see Worthington Glacier. As we continued on we passed within yards of 600 foot high waterfalls and 5000 foot peaks. We also saw funky little roadhouses that once hosted gold prospectors, along with parts of the TransAlaska pipline. The moniker "Switzerland of Alaska" couldn't be more appropriate for Valdez -the lush green snow-capped Chugach mountains and shimmering water were reminiscent of  Europe. Valdez is situated at the head of a deep, stillwater fjord on Prince William Sound.We were surrounded by  mountains and where glaciers abounded from every mountaintop and valley. In Alaska there are 30,000 square miles of glacier ice, covering 5 per cent of the state. Glacier ice is blue  and in the Sound they are both retreating (shortening the distance from the origin to the terminus) and advancing (increasing in size).
Early Sunday morning we were off on a 9 hour cruise of Prince William Sound which took us from Valdez to Meares Glacier. In route we traveled the shoreline looking for the critters that call the Sound home. We spotted sea otter, harbor seals, sea lions, humpback & orca whales, porpoise, eagles, puffins and more!!!! One whale was delighted to put on an energetic show for us...breaking the mirrored surface just feet from our boat, blowing, surfacing and diving many, many times. Our captain was very articulate with stories about the history and culture of the Sound from early explorers, gold and copper mining, oil shipping, commercial fishing, the 1964 earthquake, and the1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. We hit it right when we got to the Glacier and it starting calving (ice breaking off the glacier and crashing into the water). Many people never get to witness this, listen to the incredible sounds when you watch the clip. It really was exciting...so quiet, waiting in anticipation...
 With plenty of food, a living tapestry of sights that filled our heads for eons to come and a lulling ride back...we were ready to be tucked in for a great night's sleep and once again marvel at this most treasured rugged land. 
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Comments

BobbyCanada on

I could almost hear the ice breaking ....under all that screaming.
Well done.

Wanda on

My guess is that you took the Stan Stephens glacier cruise. This was ever so much better than the one out of Seward and your photographs captured the essence of the experience. I loved watching the Salmon fishing boats, the wildlife, and glaciers, but seeing them close and personal with the thrill of their calving is unforgettable. Rice Krispies will always bring back happy memories with their snap, crackle, and pop. If you can imagine, Worthington Glacier once reached all the way to the highway. In 1960, my father chipped glacier ice for our ice chest and no one ever warned us about falling into a crevice. Thank you for bringing back happy memories from my visit as a teen and again with Ray.

Vera on

Keeps getting better! Pics & video were awesome!

Toni on

Kathy your narratives are so interesting and articulate. My brother could get a job as a professional photographer and the two of you together.........totally awesome!

Sharon Brown on

Such a great trip. You really make us all feel as if we are there. Thanks so much for all of the narratives and lessons learned.

Gary Lotz on

Looks Spectacular!

Carol Sw on

WOW!

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