Saturday, August 20, 2011

Girls Getaway to Alaska - Day 5

The next morning we picked up our rental car at Avis and drove to Alyeska Resort in Girdwood. We checked in to the beautiful resort and met Molly at the Ascending Path Yurt for departure on the Glacier Hike.

The Spencer Glacier is located just South of Portage Valley and the Turnagain Arm in the Kenai Mountains and the Chugach National Forest. It is entirely off the road system, so we rode a train from Girdwood to the Spencer Whistle Stop. From the Spencer Whistle Stop, our group of three, hiked to an overlook to enjoy outstanding views of the glacier and icebergs floating in the Spencer terminal lake. The total distance from the train to the edge of the glacier is more than three miles of flat Forest Service maintained trails. The last half mile is rugged moraine (think huge black dirt piles) walking.

The five hours of hiking included tons of photos and stops to learn about interesting local wildlife, history and glaciology. At the glacier's edge we geared up with helmets and crampons, ate lunch on a the glacier itself and then traveled out onto the glacier ice to explore the amazing ice features (blue ice, crevasses, ice caves, moulins, etc) with Molly as our guide. Words cannot describe how incredible this experience was...a “must do” in Alaska!

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