Glacier Bay Offers a Break from the Heat
July 25, 2012
Summertime, vacation, and 100 degree plus weather bring thoughts of Alaska. There are many great things to do and see in Alaska, but my favorite place to be is Glacier Bay National Park…especially in the middle of a hot summer.
There are two ways to visit Glacier Bay – by boat or by hiking – but either way, a permit must be obtained from the National Park Service in Bartlett Cove at the entrance to the Bay. Cruise ships are permitted to enter the bay on a daily basis but must leave before sun down…smaller, private boats must have a permit to stay in the bay for more than one day. Only 13 permits to stay in the area are issued for any given day.
The first time I experienced Glacier Bay was by private boat, a 42 foot sailboat on which we stayed for seven days while exploring the Bay…anchoring in the shelter of a glacier or a cove facing a glacier at night being lulled to sleep by the gentle rocking of the boat and the occasional "crack" of the "calving" glacier.
As we sailed the bay, an occasional humpback would breech beside us, presenting a spectacular splash. The wildlife was abundant and just seemed to pose for pictures wherever we went. There were playful sea otters, a dolphin pod or two, birds galore, seals, and of course, the snow-covered Fairweather Mountains framed every view.
The best experience was sitting on the deck of the boat in the early morning drinking coffee and watching the brown bears scavenge along the shore for breakfast, oblivious of humans anchored only yards away.
Glacier Bay is a great place to visit when the weather in Missouri becomes unbearable, no matter how you choose to see it. I have seen it from cruise ships several times, but the most memorable visit was from the sailboat.
North Independence Branch