On Wednesday we finally picked the perfect day to take a trip out to the Matanuska Glacier. (It's seriously highway robbery to get in through the private land in front of it though)
The view of "their" mountains before we left.
It was about an hour and a half drive to get to the glacier and the scenery along the way was simply stunning.
You drive high along the hillside opposite the glacier before going down to it so you can see some of the sheer size of it.
Four miles across and 27 miles long. Much of the front of it on the left side is actually ice, but covered by the silt and gravel that the glacier has churned up.
The glacier moves about a foot a day, but enough falls off at the front end that it is fairly stable in it's location. We felt a piece of it shift while we were walking out on it! Spooky!
This is Shalom, and froggy had to visit the glacier with us!
Distances are deceiving... it probably took us a good 10 minutes to walk from this photo to the glacier edge.
At the edge, a lot of the ice is covered with dirt and silt. But you can see the clear solid ice through it!
David juggling rocks...
All of these rocks have warmed in the sun and melted themselves down into the top layer of the ice.
Checking out a hole in the ice.
The guys got a lecture from Dahlia about letting kids get too near holes... safety first! We all (except the girls) had these Cat Trax things on our shoes that made it much easier to walk on the ice. The poor girls had to just be held up as they walked.
Family picture on the glacier! If we go to Glacier National Park in the future I think the kids might be a little disappointed...
There were many of these holes, most not big enough for anyone to fall into. You can see the amazing blue color down in the ice though.
Our lovely hosts!
We were on the very front edge of the glacier and it's so choppy that we couldn't climb up on top like I thought we were going to.
Boys on the ice!
These two photos (above and below) are taken looking back towards the parking lot, and from the parking lot respectively. You can see that we are on the glacier, but in the photo below, where we were standing is very much at the bottom and front.
Let me just straddle a crack for fun!
Checking out how cold that ice water really is!
The boys were drinking the water pouring off here.
This is us, in front of one little piece. To your right, the rest of the glacier was easily 4 to 5 times this tall, just what we could see!
And after we took this photo the boys walked over to where the ice turned into a small lake. What they didn't know was that the water had essentially melted out the ice under the edge so under their combined weight it broke, dumping them both into glacier water! Dahlia was there to grab them out and they must have been treading water hard because neither was wet above their armpits, but they said they never touched the bottom! You can see that most of us are actually in shirtsleeves because it was such a warm day thankfully, even the air blowing across the glacier was warm, but they were cold then!
Boys: let us push this rock over!
There were some amazing patterns where the ice had fissured and the silt had flowed down into the cracks. Try to blow this photo up and look carefully.
Views on the way home!
Just a mile or so before we got back to their house there was another moose spotting! This one had a baby with her, but it was hiding from my camera.
And then just as we were getting the kids to bed (yes, at 11pm) I saw a giant shadow outside the window and this owl landed on top of the tree just off their deck.
All the nature is pretty awesome in Alaska!