Glacier Bay National Park

Aug 10, 2018 - National Geographic Sea Lion


Today was yet another spectacular day in a truly spectacular landscape! Early this morning we stopped in Bartlett Cove at the entrance of Glacier Bay National Park and picked up a park ranger and Tlingit cultural interpreter. We sailed north into pea soup—fog, sky, and sea met in a haze of gray and purplish-blues. Soon we arrived at South Marble island, a well-known wildlife hotspot. This island is home to a variety of nesting seabirds, including kittiwake gulls, glaucous-winged gulls, and tufted puffins. The puffins zipped through the sky as Stellar sea lions growled at one another on the rocky shore. From South Marble we plowed into another fog bank, but emerged an hour later through misty tatters into sun. We even saw the top of the 15,325-foot Mount Fairweather between strips of cloud!

Several bears were spotted during the morning, including a mother brown bear with three large and almost adult-sized cubs that must have been over two years old. We saw a few mountain goats and continued up the bay to the very northern glaciers, Margerie and Grand Pacific. The Margerie Glacier calved a few small pieces of ice for us, and we were treated to hot sun and views of the surrounding foothills. We continued to the Lamplugh and Johns Hopkins Glaciers, which were stunning in shadowy sunlight and backdropped by snow-clad peaks. On the return to Bartlett Cove we had a very special sighting: a glacier bear. This grayish-blue morph of black bear is highly prized by natural history enthusiasts, and Glacier Bay is an excellent place to see this highly elusive animal. Following dinner, we disembarked in Bartlett Cove to stroll through forest trails and explore a whale exhibit and Tlingit tribal house.

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About the Author

Emily Mount

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Emily grew up in Niwot, Colorado and Pullman, Washington. Her love of nature began as a child during family vacations spent hiking, camping and exploring the mountains and deserts of the west. In contrast to her outdoors interests, Emily pursued an intensive young career as a classical violinist, culminating in degrees in history and music performance at the University of Washington.  

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