DAY 3: GLACIER BAY NATIONAL PARK ACTIVITIES
Glacier Bay | UnCruise Adventures | Wilderness Legacy | Day 3 of Itinerary | Bushwhacking, Skiffs, Hikes
SECOND OF 2 DAYS IN GLACIER BAY NATIONAL PARK
Today is June 21 and we believe there is no better place to celebrate Solstice Day than right here in spectacular Glacier Bay National Park. We have a big day planned, full of amazing unique activities. This is likely to be the most spectacular events of the week. It's a good thing we were able to anchor right here in the park last night because our day started bright and early, before breakfast with a tremendous glacier viewing.
At 6 AM the UnCruise Legacy was positioned close to one of Glacier Bays' most spectacular glaciers, two actually. From this location we can actually see both glaciers opposite from each other. Margerie Glacier is truly spectacular. Very white and scenic. Across the way is Grand Pacific Glacier, not only the largest in the park but at one time actually filled Glacier Bay National Park. Grand Pacific is actually less attractive due to the dirty snow frontage, but no doubt the largest and most significant.
We linger here for one hour to soak in the ambience and views while listening to the calving of glaciers right in front of us. It is overcast and quite cool outside, but worth every second. This was an inspiring hour to be remembered forever.
FIRST STOPS: BUSHWHACKING & SKIFFING TO GLACIERS
After a typically delicious breakfast we are off at 8:45 am for incredible adventures. I took the first skiff of the day toward Lamplugh Glacier. Along the way we moved slowly as needed to break ice as we approached the glacier. We approached shore just beyond the glacier. This is one instance where our wellies, or water boots came in handy as we waded a few feet of water to get to shore. On shore we walked around huge chunks of ice that apparently wash up with the daily tide which rises and goes back out daily. Due to the immanent rising tide we stored our wellies and backpacks in higher ground as we will be bushwhacking for a few hours and who knows what the tide will be when we return.
And off we go, up the mountain right beside amazing Lamplugh Glacier, led by Moxie. Now I know what bushwhacking is. There are no designated trails. We climbed, crawled, jumped, trekked through light snow over rocky, steep unsteady terrain and used any available branches to pull on. This is tough, real tough. I prepared for this but still get very winded as the climb is tough. As we pause for the first time we are well above the frontal face of the glacier, which is 180 feet high. We continue on, climbing higher for a good hour. At our peak, we are well above the entire glacier and well beyond the face. We can see much of the 17-mile long glacier moving back further as far as we can see. What an amazing, spectacular view that I will never forget. The photos and videos I was able to capture from this vantage point of the glacier, bay, our ship in the distance and surrounding vistas are amazing. And to be sure only a tiny population of mankind has been here. This was an Epic Adventure, so worth the pain.
While I was bushwalking Carol explored some far reaches of the park via skiff. That's the great thig about the skiffs. They can cover a large territory and see a lot of scenery in a short period of time. She came up to the face of Lamplugh Glacier and could see my bushwhacking group as well as the glacier. They also took in many waterfalls and ventured as far as John Hopkins Glacier, way off the beaten path and not accessible to larger ships.
AFTERNOON SKIFF TOUR
One of the many great benefits of an UnCruise cruise is they anticipate you will be hungry for a least a snack when you return from activities so there is always something to munch on in The Lounge after activities. And of course the bar is open and included. As soon as we returned - famished and exhausted, Steve had my beer of choice ready without my asking. I felt half way recovered already.
After recovering it was off to lunch where Chad had our table waiting with our favorite beverages. Love these lunches. A Pita and salad for me, and delicious Salad with Salmon for Carol (photos below).
This afternoon we are scheduled to cruise by Gloomy Lodge, an uninhabited island with the promise of Mountain Goats on the mountain side. Sure enough we spotted a few mountain goats in higher elevations climbing the incredibly steep face of the mountain.
EVENING ACTIVITIES, ETC
At our 5:30 PM Happy Hour we learned that we will anchor tonight and spend much of tomorrow in the tranquil Takatz Bay. There are plenty of activity options to kayak, Bushwhack, skiff.
Dinner was delicious as usual. Sticking to my fresh seafood agenda I thoroughly enjoyed my Cod dinner. But the real treat lies ahead, after dinner. Typically there are not off the boat activities in the evening but apparently tonight is an exception. And remember we are still in Glacier Bay. So we will actually roam the shores of Glacier Bay in addition to the plethora of included activities we have experienced within the park over the previous two very full days.
The Legacy docked at Bartlett Cove, the official entrance to Glacier Bay. What a treat this turned out to be. Our first stop was to view the full skeleton of a whale (video below). This particular whale was struck by a cruise ship. In return for this, the whale's body was recovered and the skeleton is in full view today for visitors to view.
Next stop is the Tribal House with displays and fabulous Totem Poles. This is a very enlightening visit.
Our group was divided into two groups. One group for a meander and the other for a comfortable walk. This was a beautiful walk through tall tress in a meadow where we did witness a moose grazing. As far as I am aware it remained light through the night until the early AM sunrise. What a beautiful way to celebrate Solstice Day in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska!