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Mendenhall Glacier Canoeing
In Southeast Alaska, in August, it rains. It rains a lot. When you're on vacation and it rains a lot, you get used to the rain or you miss your vacation. In the middle of a Princess cruise, we stopped in Juneau. Only five of us were crazy enough to want to canoe out to the Mendenhall Glacier on a chilly, steadily raining morning. Our guide Christina was relentlessly cheerful. Paddling out among the crystal and blue icebergs recently calved from the glacier was magical. They were all shapes and sizes. We would glide up to them and whack them with our paddles. It was so cold and miserable by the time we got to the glacier we thought we couldn't take it any more. Christina then magically produced cups of hot cider, crackers, cheese spread, and reindeer sausage. Thus fortified, we rallied. We even took a side paddle to explore the base of a fairly serious waterfall on the other side of the lake. The rain cleared up a bit on the way back. We were cold, we were soaked, but we were delighted. The less intrepid travelers who took a bus to the park visitor center probably couldn't even see the glacier for the fog and mist. We were right up there with it. Awesome.
I love my travel buddy Brenda, we’re both in the travel business and as NYC girls we spend our vacations doing out of the box adventurous things like zip lining or canoeing the famous Mendenhall Glacier! This was our first time on a canoe and we were very excited to get up close to the waterfalls & glaciers. On our way back to camp we actually saw a small iceberg turn over, it was awe inspiring! Every year is a new adventure, but this trip was priceless because everything that could go wrong did & all you can do is laugh so there is never a dull moment!
This is a picture taken of the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau Alaska. We were approaching this glacier by boat to take a plane ride to the glacier when I saw this small section peering through the two mountain sides. You can see the massive layers of ice and the depth of this glacier very clearly. The blue colors in the ice sparkled like sapphires in the sun. After looking at the picture it almost looks like an hourglass with ice flowing through the middle. Very beautiful.
How do you upstage the Mendenhall Glacier? Three teens with attitude, of course!
Would our family and friends trip to Alaska keep our teens engaged? Not to worry - they embraced each adventure with the eagerness and excitement of those younger years! We took many photos but this seemed to capture the spirit of these lifelong pals, on an exploration of our beautiful 49th state.
It’s hard to believe that the capital of America’s largest state is unreachable by car, but it is. Its dramatic mountainous backdrop, which makes it a mandatory stop on the Inside Passage cruise circuit, might have something to do with it. Regardless of how you arrive, make sure to get out of town and visit the Mendenhall Glacier only 13 miles away.
We hired Above & Beyond to help our family hike on the ice field itself and gain a perspective of these incredible landscapes we could never get from the deck of a ship.
We were warned that our hike would run last 4-5 hours, so we prepared for a full day out. The trail leading to the glacier snaked through a beautiful temperate forest, which was quite impressive in its own right. During the lengthy trek, our guides kept the kids amused with tales of previous adventures and fun facts about the ice flow we would soon find ourselves standing on top of.
After being instructed on how to wear the crampons and use the ice picks, we were told to bring our cameras and follow the guide to the outer edge of the glacier. Passing over a crevasse, we turned a corner and soon found ourselves peering into an opening of an ice cave carved deep into the glacier by the runoff of melting ice. Told it was safe to enter, we made our way as far into the cave as possible. The glow of the deep blue ice surrounding us was incredible. That’s when my son declared that this was literally the coolest place he had ever been. I couldn’t agree more.
Hike to a Glacier in Juneau, Alaska Just Because You Can
Standing yards away from the Mendenhall Glacier, these were the thoughts that were going through my head >
"Why, it's so icy blue!"
"Why, it's just a bunch of snow avalanched and then re-frozen in the valley of mountains. Psshaw."
"I must hike to it and chip off some of the snow ice and put it in my highball of Bulleit whiskey because let's be real - who likes it neat unless they're playing an endless game of poker and need something to babysit?"
"Holy shit. I'm staring at a glacier. A real, live glacier."
"Wait 'till I tell my friends."