Sunday, October 27, 2019

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska


On my last blog post, I showed the excursion my husband and I took to see the amazing Hubbard Glacier in Yakutat Bay, Alaska, up close, including a video of it caving. The next day of our cruise we were headed on an inner passage into Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. The morning began with incredible scenery outside our stateroom balcony and viewing Glacier Bay including seeing Park Rangers coming aboard our Princess Cruise ship.  Most visitors to Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve spend a day in Glacier Bay on large cruise ships as part of a longer cruise originating at a major west coast city. It is an amazing day cruising through the best of Alaska. The spectacular scenery and wildlife of Glacier Bay make it a highlight of any Alaska cruise. The ship travels into the heart of the Fairweather Mountains for a trip into the ice ages. (All photos will enlarge if clicked on)




In the ship's theater, a ranger gave us a preview talk about what we were going to view that day, as our cruise ship sailed to the terminus of the national park's inlet where the Grand Pacific and Margerie Glaciers are located, and then turn and sail back out.




I can not describe it better than what is said on the US National Park's service web page for Glacier Bay National Park:


"From the bottom of the deepest glacial fjord to the summit of its highest peak, Glacier Bay encompasses some of our continent's most amazing scenery and wildness. It is a land reborn, a world returning to life, a living lesson in resilience. If ever we needed a place to intrigue and inspire us, this is it. Glacier Bay is a homeland, a living laboratory, a national park, a designated wilderness, a biosphere reserve, and a world heritage site. It's a marine park, where great adventure awaits by boating into inlets, coves and hideaway harbors. It's also a land park, with its snow-capped mountains, spectacular glaciers, and emerald–green forests. From the summit to sea, Glacier Bay's wildness is remote, dynamic and intact."



Located along the collision zone between the North American and Pacific crustal plates, coastal mountains here reach almost three miles into the sky and are still rising. The high summits of the Fairweather Range feed numerous glaciers, some that extend all the way to the sea.



As you can see from the photo above our cruise ship sailed serenely into the bay, close to the shoreline for excellent views of wildlife and whales



Glacier Bay has been home to the Huna Tlingit people for countless generations. 250 years ago a single large tidewater glacier covered all of Glacier Bay. By 1750 the glacier began to retreat and has now retreated 60 miles to the head of the bay.  Currently, glaciers cover 27 % of the park, in 2,055 square miles.  There are 50 named glaciers, 7 of which are active tidewater glaciers that calve icebergs into the sea,  Most of the glaciers originate in the mountains at 8,000 to 15,000 feet elevation.  The Grand Pacific, Brady, and Carroll Glaciers all exceed 200 square miles.  In general, Tidewater and terrestrial glaciers have been receding over the years, with the exception of the Johns Hopkins and Margerie Glaciers.  More history about the glaciers can be read on this link.




One after another we sailed passed glaciers...




...and majestic snowcapped mountains.




My husband viewed the Johns Hopkins Glacier from our balcony.



The scenery was incredible. The ship's lunch buffet was a fabulous array of fresh Alaskan seafood of all kinds--what a treat!




Such beauty!



The mountains, shorelines, and waterways of Glacier Bay are massive, dwarfing even the largest cruise ship. Wildlife is abundant, yet often appears small.  The National Park Service Rangers were on the public decks to help in searching for wildlife such as grizzly bears, bald eagles, harbor seals, humpback whales, mountain goats, and even puffins!  We searched through our binoculars and saw seals and whale fins and many birds.




Looking back at the shoreline where we had just sailed past.





A glacier calving




This glacier appeared to have a cross shape in the ice.




The beautiful blue ice of the Margerie Glacier...




..and the dark black ice of the Grand Pacific Glacier.




Jagged mountain peaks!




Lush green shoreline in some areas.




Massive mountains...




...and some melting glaciers.




Reflections...




...and islands.




The sail back out of the inner passage of Glacier Bay National Park had equally beautiful views.



As the sun sets, we enjoyed listening to a soprano singing opera arias in the ship's main floor atrium. We took this cruise in June, and my husband and I both had birthdays that month, so that evening we there were balloons and "Happy Birthday" greetings outside our stateroom, and we were treated to special birthday cake desserts at dinner. It was the end of a most wonderful day!  

Our next few cruise stops would be the Alaskan cites of Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan, and more onshore excursions...please come back to my blog soon, to see more!


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41 comments:

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Pat - You're bringing back memories of my trip to Alaska with my late husband. It is such a majestic state and the scenery is breathtaking. I'm so glad you and Vinny were able to enjoy this trip together.

italiafinlandia said...

Hello Pat,
awesome views!

Jutta.K. said...

Such a wonderful landscape,
so great shots !
My contribution

diane b said...

A Fabulous place. Lovely photos and text too. Thanks for reliving my memory of our trip there. I'm looking forward to see what excursions you do in the next towns. We did the White Pass Train trip and best of all the Salmon Bake at Taku Lodge where we flew in a float plane over the glaciers. It must have been fun celebrating your birthdays there.

eileeninmd said...

Hello,

Beautiful post and photos from your Alaska cruise. I have memories of cruising Glacier Bay too, the mountains are gorgeous. What beautiful views. Lovely post and photos. Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy new week!

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

What a wondrous place to see! Beautiful photos.

Vee said...

Amazing views of rugged landscapes. Were you ever cold and uncomfortable? It’s only October and I am already minding the cold. Oh I’ll be back.

Debby said...

Yeah, we're going to have to go up to Alaska after hubby retires. Friends just moved up to the Kenai Peninsula this past July.

Beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing

A Bit of the Blarney said...

Oh my, again you've done yourself proud! This is a beautiful post! The photos are breathtaking and the shades of blue are amazing! Thank you and have a wonderful week!

NCSue said...

How beautiful and pristine! Gorgeous shots.
Thanks for linking upat https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2019/10/sunrise-over-my-happy-place.html

Linda W. said...

Those glaciers are so cool! What a great trip you had.

Angie said...

Pat - each picture is more fantastic than the last! I think what struck me most was your comment that the mountains are still rising - we don't hear that very often! How wonderful that the Park Rangers came on board and gave you a presentation - our tax dollars well spent! Thanks so much for linking to Mosaic Monday, and belated Happy Birthday to both of you!

Lydia C. Lee said...

What gorgeous sites to see!! #RubyTuesdaytoo

Ruth Hiebert said...

That scenery is breathtaking.Such majestic beauty.

Maggid said...

Thank you, thank you - I'd Never be able to imagine this . .your sharing is . . amazing . . .golly, triple wow!

William Kendall said...

A magnificent landscape!

Jeanie said...

These photos should be in National Geographic. Stunning in every way. Of course, those you've shared on FB of your current CO snow are nothing to sneeze at either = but I'd really rather not think about snow for a bit.

Tom said...

...gorgeous and to think that it's melting away. Thanks for sharing these beautiful images.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

That is so cool that the Rangers came on Board to talk to you. They are so knowledgeable. It surprised me to hear that at least some of the glaciers are still growing. I will never forget the sound of one of them calving! Your pictures are incredibly beautiful.

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Pat, what a wonderful trip you and your husband enjoyed! We have taken this trip and it was fun to see the sights of beautiful Alaska through your camera lens. How lovely to celebrate both of your birthdays onboard such a wonderful cruise.

Tamar SB said...

Those waters are so blue!!

Photo Cache said...

The beauty is too much to process sometimes.

Worth a Thousand Words

rupam sarma said...

Amazing pics.

Lady Fi said...

Wow - so beautiful!

Valerie said...

Thank you so much for sharing the spectacular scenery of this majestic part of our world. A lovely series of great photography and, I'm sure, some very special memories.

Debbie-Dabble Blog and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

Pat,
WOW!! Amazing photos of what looks like a spectacular trip!! Thanks so much for sharing and thanks for stopping by!!
Hugs,
Deb

Powell River Books said...

I've never been on a cruise, but we watch the cruise ships passing by almost every night during the summer while they are going to and from Alaska. Even though they are so large they have to time passage through Seymour Narrows north of Campbell River. We can watch them with binoculars from our bedroom window all the way across the strait in Powell River. - Margy

ellen b. said...

Such an amazing part of our country. Wonderful photos!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

It really is breathtaking and it looks like you had good weather...not too cold! Love the reflections in the water. You've made beautiful mosaics to share. It will look a lot different soon, won't it? Hugs!

Barb said...

What a trip! Magnificent photos, Pat. I love the blue ice and the jagged peaks.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

I have never visited Alaska and I doubt at this stage of my life that I will make it there, so I especially enjoyed it through your eyes.

Crown and Cottage said...

What a memorable cruise, the views are just stunning. Thanks so much for sharing!

Marilyn @ MountainTopSpice said...

You always take such incredible pictures Pat, it feels as though I were riding along there with you! Such beautiful scenery! My husband has always wanted to visit Alaska, and a cruise would be the perfect way to do it! How wonderful that they celebrated your birthdays too! Those glaciers are stunning to see! Such incredible pictures you took... enjoyed your post today! Blessings to you :)

betty-NZ said...

More fabulous scenes from a gorgeous place! I'm so glad you shared these with us!

I'm so glad to see you at 'My Corner of the World' this week!

My Corner of the World

Joyful said...

Beautiful photos. An Alaskan cruise is on my list of travel adventures.

Esha said...

Such breathtaking views, Pat! It must have been an incredible experience to be travelling in such stunning locations, soaking in the beauty of nature everywhere you turn to look. Must have been one very memorable trip for you to come back and share your stories with!

Thank you for sharing this amazing post and wish you a wonderful week ahead.
Cheers
Esha

Spare Parts and Pics said...

What an incredible spot. Your photos are absolutely gorgeous, but I'm sure it was even more spectacular in person. Cool that Park Rangers were invited on-board to educate everyone. Sounds like a great cruise!

Michelle said...

Even better that it was the birthday month for both of you during the cruise! The views are so perfect they almost don't seem real. Thanks for linking up. Have a great weekend.

Mother of 3 said...

Oh wow! Those views are just amazing. I especially love the mountain photos where they're reflected perfectly in the water.

Dee | Grammy's Grid said...

Enjoyed seeing your pics!! Thanks so much for linking up at the #UnlimitedMonthlyLinkParty 6. Shared.

April J Harris said...

An Alaskan Cruise is definitely on my list, so I really enjoyed your photos, Pat! What incredible scenery!
Thank you for sharing, and for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link Party. I’m featuring this post at the party this week. Hope to ‘see’ you there!