WHAT TO DO IN ALASKA
Hiking on the Mendenhall Glacier.
The crown glacier of Juneau, the Mendenhall is truly a beauty. Lush greens and a mirror-like sea surround this hunk of ice, and from the frost it looks like a river of pale blue satin falling into the water. Hiking on it was like walking through an alien, icy landscape, where the water was so clear it looked like glass and the navy-stained ravines plunged thousands of feet. If you visit Juneau this is a must.
There is nothing more incredible then seeing a whale arch it's back alongside your ship while the sun spills orange over the horizon. I never took a picture of an actual whale surfacing, I was too in awe but in the picture below there are whales spouting on the horizon.
Taking a Helicopter Ride to the Mendenhall Glacier.
Enough said. Riding in this helicopter made it feel like I was flying. Withblue seas stretched out before us and small fluffy clouds to our right and left, the experience was heavenly. And when we saw the glacier, it was like something out of a National Geographic picture. The company we went with was North Star Trekking, which is well worth the price,
Alaska isn't all about ice and snow. If you hike in an Alaskan rainforest, you'll be surrounded by vibrant green plants, small trickling waterfalls, tendrils of mist creeping around tree trunks, and swatches of moss hanging to bare branches. I doubt there are any tigers in these rainforests, but bears are common visitors.
Visiting Hubbard Glacier Glacier Bay.
Getting to sail around Glacier Bay and stare at the face of Hubbard Glacier was an amazing experience. My most recent post was actually about this experience, and so if you want to see an in-depth recollection click here.
This hike was killer. With a four-thousand foot elevation change crammed into two miles, at some parts the hike felt almost vertical. However, being able to see Dewey Lake, a strikingly-colored glacier lake, and gaze at the puffs of pink flowers and snow-covered mountains at the top was well worth-it.
There is nothing as awe-inspiring as watching as a third of a glacier face crashes into the ocean right in front of you. While canoeing in the ocean can be grueling, the marine life and spectacular views make the exercise well worth it. Plus, your arms will get really buff too.
Alaska TRansportation and Tips
And while Alaska can be nice, there can also be bad weather. Some tips I would recommend is:
- Bring more than three pairs of shoes and warm woolen clothes, as they WILL get muddy
- RAIN GEAR IS ESSENTIAL, AND BRING A SOLID WINDBREAKER
- Bring a satellite phone or other satellite device, as often the carrier signals randomly vanish
- Avoid cruise towns that are meant to lure in tourists, such as jewelry or clothing stores
- Hike as much as you can, and don't be afraid to try out new experiences
- Make lots of noise when you hike, though, to scare away curious bears
- Wear sunscreen. I learned the hard way.
- Buy your plane tickets waaaaaaay ahead of time
- Visiting during mid-June, early July, as the weather is warmer but still cold
- Don't be so busy taking pictures that you forget to enjoy the views around you
- Talk with the Alaskan locals. They have tons of stories and know the best places to visit
Next topic: Galápagos Islands