Cruise through Alaska, June 2001

If you have thought what we did before to day was incredible- You, as we, have no idea what is in store for your fourth day in the most beautiful place in the world, Glacier Bay, Alaska. The Hubbard Glacier is a magnificent natural wonder. While it was two miles wide, we were only able to see one because of mountains. It's 300 feet high. You lose a little perspective of a football filed in height, but just think about this: That's a thirty story building. Look out the window next time you're on the 30th floor and just imagine being at the top of this monster.

-Glacier Bay, Alaska: Day Four Part I-
"The Awesome power of Nature"

You go to bed the next night and you have no idea that your entire perspective on the world's, nature, God, and your life is about to change. Sounds like a huge sales job to put you on a cruise, but I promise, this was one of the top ten days of my life. And no, I don't yet have children.

Anticipation builds as you see what you think are huge chunks of floating ice on the way up the Bay.

I say you "think" the pieces are huge because you have no idea what is about to happen and the size of the ice you're about to see.


Finally, the glacier comes into view. We thought this was closest that we would get to the glacier, so were snapping pictures left and right. Below, Jim and Gladys are in another picture that shows how close we really got.
Above is our old friend, Holland America leaving Glacier Bay, and below, we're closing in on the Hubbard Glacier.
The front of the boat is a helicopter pad. There will be no reenactment of Titanic on this boat. You can't even get to the front, normally. The Captain announced that he was so awestruck by the beautiful weather that he was going to open the doors to the helicopter pad and let us get a better view of the upcoming glacier and it's surroundings. We hung out on the front of the boat with everyone else for hours until it occurred to me that our balcony sat empty, private, and free from elbows of other passengers.

Look at the size of that chunk! You can't really tell, but it's probably about 10 tons of ice just floatin' around after it fell from the Hubbard.
It really is wonderful to see all the color that ice can hold. Oddly enough, the color doesn't have anything to do the ice's temperature. It has to do with oxygen. No really, I'm serious. The more oxygen deprived the ice, from the compression of the glacier, the more blue the refraction of light. Like I said, we learned something again. Technically we learned that on the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, but hey, it made the blue that much prettier at the Hubbard.


A valley. Just a valley, but take a look. Look how this mountain juts up from the back. If I could have this as the view from my back window... I just don't know how I'd get anything done.

"Whatchya been doin?"
" Lookin out the window."

This is another of my favorites from Glacier Bay. The reflection of the entire mountain in the serene waters below makes you forget that there is such a mean, terrible world out there.

I like to look at this picture and think about the camera clicking as I took it. From that moment, it's the only sound I remember.

>>>Warning! What you are about to see here in no way does justice<<<
> >>>>to what it was really like<<<<<

I have seen pictures from other people's trips to the Hubbard Glacier, but I have never seen any with the kind of weather we had on our visit.

This picture to the left is one of the finest examples of the weather we have. And that is to say nothing of the glacier. What could I say?

 

Within about two miles of the Glacier, you hear the absolute strangest thing you've ever heard:

THUNDER!

And, it takes a minute to figure out how in the world it could be thundering on such a beautiful day:

It's not thunder! It's the GLACIER!

And, you realize then that when ice falls from the glacier, it makes a horrendous noise! And, so you start scanning the glacier, as intent as an eagle on dinner. You have GOT to capture this on film!

The strangest sensation is when you realize that once you have heard the thunder, it's too late to get any pictures. Why?

Light travels faster than sound, so what you're hearing is the sound from the ice falling well after it's already hit the water!

So, you scan... and you watch for finger pointing and you listen for other people to say something from other balconies. And you wait for the Thunder that comes from the part of the glacier you can't see.

And you realize:

This is where it all starts.
Life.
Life needs water to continue. The water from the ocean turns into clouds.
Life gets rain.
And, here you are.
Right here at the birthplace of the world.


"THERE!" someone yelled.
And the cameras went up and started clicking.


Your hand spins the zoom lens in to get as close as possible. The camera blinds you for the 1/32 of a second that it captures for you forever. And you wait....

The THUNDER is coming!

On the right hand side of this picture, you can see more melting of the ice. We have never been so awestruck by anything in our lives together. And, Like I said, we don't have kids. The closest I have come to birth is watching ducks hatch in my parent's flower garden. That was pretty cool and everything, but I'm willing to believe there's more out there for us. For now, when asked about the ten best days for the two of us, this will have to do.

It was truly the most incredible experiences we have ever had. If you know us, you will be impressed that we watched the glacier all through the snacks and entertainment and other crap that would just absolutely suck in comparison to what we were getting to see right outside our door. This was yet another time that we were so very happy with our balcony room. You really must make this part of your trip if you can swing it over the cost of a cruise. It was so nice to be there, just us and our friends. Private, roomy and beautiful.

On to Part II
>>Day 4<<
Glacier Bay, Alaska