"Smoke on the Water" Top 5 Page for this destination Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve by mrclay2000
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Travel Guide: 147 reviews and 267 photos
Glacier Bay is one of the finest national parks in the system, but on most days the clouds refuse to reveal the treasures underneath. Above this vast tract of rainforest lies an interminable belly of gray sky. Bad weather often means a hideous squall and high winds on a bay where tides decide everything. Drizzle and darkness are common attributes, while good weather, a rarity in southeastern Alaska, often means that the clouds are only willing to withhold their burdens a while longer before pouring them in your wake. On those rare occasions however when the sun defeats the cloudy minions, the effect is as luxurious and bristling with light and life such as few corners of North America can pretend to contest.
Even so, Glacier Bay is not a simple park to explore. Two-thirds of its entirety is covered by snows and ice that never melt. Marching through its spruce intensity is something not to be considered even by the hardiest hiker. Paddling even to the extremity of the shorter east arm (the Muir Inlet) will involve the strongest mariner in a row of two days, depending on the weather possibly more punishing than rewarding. In sum, the landward obstacles of Glacier Bay are extremely difficult to penetrate, and for kayakers (the one true way to explore the park) one accidental plunge into the aquagreen surf might be the last ablution your wearied frame will ever perform.
These details are more for truth than for warning. Glacier Bay is unlike all other parks in the system. The world's largest moose, the mighty brown bear and his smaller black cousin, and the occasional wolf are all familiar throughout the park, yet the marine life is by far the most common ambassador. Kayakers are customarily escorted by harbor seals and diving porpoises while paddling to the farthest reaches. Sea lions lie aground on rocky surfaces on smaller islands throughout the bay, while the largest visitor the humpback whale commonly plies the waters between Bartlett Cove and Sebree Island. Campers familiar to Rocky Mountain National Park in September are accustomed to the overnight serenade of restless elks, but in Glacier Bay, the blowing of returning whales is the lullaby by which campers ease into their nighttime quarters, an experience unknown to boarders at the lodge or those who briefly visit the Bay on the deck of a cruise ship. I can affirm with absolute confidence that nothing compares with a pod of 40-ton sirens in the lee of a summer's night, or the fractured frown of 250-ft Margerie Glacier reluctantly martyring its facade to an endless flotilla of icebergs in the west arm.
- Pros:Unimaginable natural beauty, glaciers by the hundred, marine and land life ad infinitum
- Cons:Cloudy, windy, drizzly, given to wind and tide
- In a nutshell:If the sun brightens your day, Glacier Bay will glitter like gold!
In Glacier Bay, it's not unlikely that you can spot the living portions of the grub served up in the Glacier Bay Lodge.... more travel advice
Near the docks by the park information station stands one of many day-use cabins for self-storage (for a 24-hour limit).... more travel advice
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