Explore Alaska's Mighty Glaciers
by Roy Witman © 2008
When you say, “Alaska,” most people begin to
conjure images of bears roaming the wilderness,
moose grazing in the valley and salmon leaping from
the rushing river currents. But did you know Alaska
· more coastline than all other states
· 3 million lakes?
· 40% of its area protected in reserves and
· over 100 glaciers spanning 14 million
It's the incredible blue-ice glaciers that have
become an enormous draw to wildlife lovers all
around the world. And, since Alaska has so many to
offer, it has become the playground for glacier
Cruising is one of the most exciting ways to
explore glaciers because you are actually on the
water. Many cruise lines, including Holland America,
offer tours to Glacier Bay National Park, College Fjord,
the Inside Passage, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
and Hubbard Glacier.
Glacier Bay National Park
A Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site,
a protected ecosystem of plants and animals-
Glacier Bay National Park is all these things. But what
excites most visitors are the glaciers themselves.
According to Holland America's website, “when
a monumental chunk of ice splits off a glacier and
crashes into the sea, the sound is like thunder. The
impact shoots water hundreds of feet into the air. You
hold your breath as you catch the moment on film.
Then you wait for it all to happen again. And it does.
Glacier Bay has more actively calving tidewater
glaciers than anyplace else in the world.” Truly
thrilling to watch! But glacier discovery goes far
beyond watching from afar.
Explore Via Canoe
When you want to get up close and personal, step
into a 31-foot canoe and pull alongside the Davidson
Glacier in Haines, Alaska. In addition, you'll encounter
whales, sea lions and other native creatures often so
close you would want to reach out and touch them.
(Resist that urge!)
Step Out Onto A Glacier
The king of all tours is chartering a helicopter to fly
you in, then actually stepping out onto a glacier.
There's a certain reverence you feel when standing
next to massive, jagged ice juts knowing the glacier
they rise from took millions of years to form. Outfitted
with special glacier boots, your guide will take you
trekking across one of numerous glaciers including
Chilkat Glacier, Ferebee Glacier or Meade Glacier.
Along the way, you'll thrill at cascading waterfalls and
crystal-like rivers of ice.
Flightseeing At Its Best
For photography buffs, flightseeing over
wilderness areas and glaciers is a must. Helicopters
get you closer than any plane could as you swoop
over waterfalls and lush rainforests on your way to the
Juneau Icefield with 36 named glaciers. A frozen,
serene wonderland, just being in this area
commands respect. Perhaps it's a sense of awe at
this rare beauty. It could be concern for the future of
this region. In fact, while most glaciers are retreating
due to the possible affects of global warming, one in
the Juneau Icefield is still advancing.
From icy spires to deep crevasses to eagles flying
overhead, the photo opps on Alaska glaciers are
fantastic and sure to provide memories that will last a
Read more about Alaska Cruises.