Monday, July 09, 2007

Glacier Bay: The Finale

We woke to a cold, dreary morning. The weather kept us motivated to break camp and make the short trip over the pick up. It was only a half mile, so nobody was too worried that the double, with the gash in its side, would have trouble. Just in case H and I packed as much of the gear as would fit into our singles.
The pick up spot was a buzz with activity when we arrived. There were six other people being picked up. Three of the people were a family who had taken their six year old back country camping for ten days!! He seemed happy as a clam and was looking forward to starting another ten day camping trip in a few days.
The day boat is a large catamaran that runs daily sight seeing trips in Glacier Bay. It also does pick up and drop off duty for kayakers at two designated locations. To drop off and load up, the captain drives the ship onto the beach. Gear and people are moved from shore to ship on a step ladder. Kayaks are hoisted onto a rack on the back of the ship.
Re-entry was a bit of a shock. Initially I was overwhelmed by paper work, getting our gear secured, getting some coffee, and changing into dry clothes. Once I got a chance to stop, it hit me. I was surrounded by strange people asking questions and wanting to make small talk. I'm not a huge fan of crowds to begin with... going from no people for four days to a crowd....
PB, wisely, avoided the whole situation by retreating to the top deck where only the hardiest of the tourists roamed while the ship was underway.
The tour took us up close to the Grand Pacific Glacier (looks like a lava slide), and Margerie Glacier. The glaciers are impressive and eerily noisy. They are constantly crackling and occasionally thundering when a piece calves into the water. We also got to see a seal, some grizzly bears, and a lone orca.
It was not quite as exciting as being in the kayaks. On the plus side, the food was excellent, there was plenty of coffee, and if you got cold you could slip inside the cabin.
The boat was late getting back into port, so we had to rush around to make our flight. Fortunately, the jet was delayed due to fog and rain. We made the plane, but not without a good amount of confusion. We just hoped that all of our gear would make it to Anchorage with us for the land portion of our trip...

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