Sunday, August 19, 2007

a road trip to the glacier

Today you get to be a tourist. I thought we'd take a trip to the Mendenhall Glacier. It won't take long. And it won't cost you a dime! So come on! Let's go see what's happening at the glacier today!

This is the road to the glacier. It's just about a two mile drive from our home. You can see the top of the glacier there in the middle (the white area).

Since I came to Juneau in 1971, the glacier has receded considerably. Now there's so much rock and mountain exposed. It's a pretty incredible sight. You can sorta get an idea when you look at all the ice that has recently calved off.

I hope you wore some comfortable walking shoes as we'll be venturing out on to the observation trail. The forest service built this incredible trail and viewing areas for tourists where we can observe the bear in their natural habitat (eating, fishing, climbing trees, nursing, snoozing) without the worry of getting mauled. We're in luck today as I see sign of bear!

One of their many fine dining areas along Steep Creek. This creek is a favorite dining spot of theirs as it isn't very deep (inches) and the spawning sockeye salmon plentiful. You can see half eaten salmon along the creek banks.

Another sign of bear: their bathroom.... (the little red specks are either fish eggs or berries. Sorry, but couldn't get close enough (or want to!) to see for sure!

And we're not the only tourists here today. I wonder what they're looking at....

OH! A little black bear! Don't worry. The forest service guide (in the green clothes) has everything under control....

He's not shy around so many people as you can tell. Another forest service guide keeps watch below (his boots). We have plenty of guides around us for protection, if we need it. Don't worry.... They're here to protect us AND the bears and will remind you to talk quietly, walk quietly, hurry along.... as the need arises.

And yet another forest service guide possibly preventing the little guy from getting up onto the trail (and us!).

Even the forest service guides take pictures! Here, the little guy decides just maybe he doesn't want to go any further and returns in the direction he came.

And says "goodbye" for today.

I hear yells, "can we follow him? Can we follow him?"

No, we can't follow him! Why? This is why:

Trail closed for the rest of the season due to increased bear activity. Evidently a couple bear "rushed" some tourists more than once and the forest service had to close the trail to protect us. So the caution signs could keep us from passing through.... but what about bear coming from the other direction?

Hope you enjoyed the tour! Unfortunately, you were looking at the rotting sockeye when Mike and I came upon a momma black bear and two cubs.... One cub was way up high in a cottonwood tree, the other on the ground near its momma. After a bit, the momma walked over to the base of the tree and must have gave the treed baby bear a look, or something, because the bear started making these little bear sounds and scurried back down. Momma and two cubs went to their pad, laid down, and nursed. Sorry you couldn't be there to see it.... Until next time.... N.


Shelby said...

oh I DID enjoy it!! And I wrote about your post on my post... happy happy HAPPY day today :)

Yolanda said...

I love the trip to the Glacier and the photos. I will be back to visit often.

Julie said...

How wonderful! I was blessed to be able to go to Alaska one time for only a few days, but I so enjoyed it!