Glacier Bay National Park

Jun 04, 2019 - National Geographic Quest


Today we had the privilege of visiting Glacier Bay National Park. This unique area is always one of the highlights of the trip, and today was no exception. Clouds rolled down the mountainsides in the morning drizzle as humpback whales spouted in the distance. We pulled away from the dock at Bartlett Cove with our guides for the day, a ranger from the park service and a cultural interpreter from Alaska Native Voices. Our first stop was South Marble Island. This is a haul-out for Steller sea lions and a nesting site for a variety of seabirds. Puffins zipped across the bow as sea lions roared and gulls flew by in sizable flocks. The occasional sea otter would paddle by, curiously watching the ship as we sailed north. We alerted each other when a puffin would fly overhead, giving us wonderful views of these charismatic birds.

As we cruised up-bay, our next stop was gloomy knob. This large rock outcropping looked especially gloomy in the light rain and low clouds. The weather highlighted the mountain goats that call this place home, their white bodies dotting the rock faces. We took time pointing them out to one another, tracing paths with our fingers up crevices and adjoining trees that led to delightful baby goats alongside the adults.

After lunch, at the top of Glacier Bay, we stood in awe of Margerie Glacier. We followed a trail of icebergs to its massive tidewater face. White thunder resonated throughout the fjord as gigantic pieces of ice calved off its face. It’s always amazing to watch such powerful dynamic forces at play, and it was such an honor to be present in the wake of such natural beauty.

Through the medium of dessert, our Global Explorers showed us how glaciers are made! They made a delicious glacier out of ice cream and toppings and had a good time doing it, as all the blue smiles show. Returning to Bartlett cove after dinner, we took the opportunity to stretch our legs through the forest. A splendid conclusion to another amazing visit to Glacier Bay.

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About the Author

Steve Backus

Naturalist

Born in the mountains of East Tennessee, it was easy for Steve to fall in love with the wonderful natural environment that surrounded him. What started as a childhood passion to scan the creeks and ponds for all they would reveal evolved into a studied desire to understand the environments around us.

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