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Monday, July 9, 2012

Day 495: Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay National Park is over 3.3 million acres of forest, inlet and shore, mountain peaks, and glaciers. Wildlife is abundant, and I just barely found myself a grizzly (or is it a brown?) bear on shore.
But we’re here for the glaciers. Unlike glaciers in the lower 48, those in the park are retreating and advancing. One of Alaska’ most photographed features is the Margerie Glacier.
Why does the ice look so blue? When light hits highly compacted ice, long wavelength colors (reds) are absorbed and short wavelength colors like blues reflect back through the ice to our eyes. You might even catch some black. Makes for an interesting look.
The glaciers can move over five feet a day so seeing a glacier calving is common. It sounds like the crack of a bat when it’s about ready to fall. You have to be fast to snap a picture, but I did manage one.
We also viewed the Lamplugh Glacier. This one even had caves in it.
When you get a close up look at icebergs, they're pretty darn amazing. One might be a big chunk and the next one a group of pieces that have found their way to each other.
Even more amazing is that a cruise ship can pass through this: