Alaska 2019 – Part 3 Glacier National Park

This is Part 3 of the Alaska 2019 trip. Part 1 took us from LAX to Vancouver. Part 2 took us to Juneau and Skagway.

Part 3 is all about visiting Glacier Bay.

Wednesday 26th – at sea all day, Glacier National Park

The map below shows the geographical relationship between Skagway and Glacier Bay. We left Skagway late Tuesday evening and spent the night motoring south and then turning north to enter Glacier Bay. Tuesday morning we woke up in Glacier Bay National Park heading north.

NP map showing area from Skagway to Glacier Bay
NP Passport Stamps

Rangers, and other representatives from the park, had already boarded the ship. They had set up the equivalent of a floating visitor center in one of the forward lounges to help get us oriented to what we were going to see that day. I was able to get a Glacier NP stamp for my NP passport there.

We had to tear ourselves away from the scenery long enough to eat breakfast and get to the Science at Sea (SAS) session that started at 8:30. The Hudson Room is located on the Promenade Deck and had windows that look out the Port side of the ship. So we were able to look out the windows as the ship proceeded into Glacier Bay. The SAS description for what was happening today is shown below:

Glacier Bay National Park encompasses 3.2 million acres of designated wilderness. It is home to nearly half of the tidewater glaciers in North America, a 15,000 foot mountain range, the delightful and mysterious coastal rainforest, over 200 species of birds, grizzly and black bears, and a resident pod of humpback whales. Only four miles of roads and about five miles of developed trails exist in this virtually untracked land larger than the state of Connecticut.

Ranger Steve Schaller from the National Park Service will join our group for the day to give us a deeper insight of what we will be seeing in Glacier Bay. Steve Schaller is the Supervisory Ranger of Glacier Bay National Park’s Educational Outreach division. 
Steve Schaller

Steve Schaller is Supervisory Ranger of Glacier Bay NP’s Education Outreach. He spent most of the day with us. The time was split between time spent inside when he was providing us descriptions of what we were going to see, and an overview of his educational outreach programs locally and nation wide. Glacier Bay NP has interactive programs available to science teachers nationwide.

It was fun and engaging to hear Steve talk. It was clear that he loved what he was doing and committed to his mission of educating us all.

There were times that Steve would interrupt his talk and usher all outside to see something important happening. We were able to keep up with his commentary through the use of private channel headsets provided by SAS. This enabled us to walk around and hear what he was saying without having to all huddle nearby.

I was able to get some good photos with my iPhone, but they can’t convey the grandeur of the scene unfolding in front of us.

Entering Glacier Bay, Rendu glacier visible right of center
Glacier Bay looking north
Map showing the primary glaciers flowing into Glacier Bay
Looking down Reid Inlet to the Reid Glacier
Margerie Glacier, we witnessed some calving off the face of this glacier

Soon, the ship had turned around, leaving Glacier Bay and heading towards Ketchikan. Our group had met in one of the forward lounges to enjoy drinks that evening before dinner. The scenery was spectacular with the wind blowing the clouds over the nearby mountain ridges.

Tried to capture the cool clouds water falling over the mountains into the sea

The adventure continues. Part 4 covers the time spent in Ketchikan and the last travel day before Vancouver. Part 5 is the last post covering our time hanging in Vancouver before heading home.

Smile and have fun.

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