Some Glacier Close-Ups

26 02 2009

There were a number of other photos I wanted to post yesterday but did not have time.  I really don’t have much of a story on them, other than generally close-up shots of the ice turn out really well.  And these are no different.  These are just a few of the pictures showing the amazing color of the ice, and some of the weird shapes it takes.18










Our Sunday Adventure

26 02 2009

As you may have gleaned from the last couple posts, Michele and I had a rather exciting Sunday.  We have made the walking trip to the glacier before, but it’s never been quite like it was this weekend.  There was a nice path cleared out from the Visitor’s Center all the way out to the face of the glacier.  The temp was around 27, but with the sun out and no wind, it was quite comfortable.

Two winters ago, we were able to walk all the way out to the glacier, but there was not much to do once you got there.  I took some up close photos, but there was only a small crevasse that you could barely enter.  In fact, we walked in the crevasse for about 10 seconds because the creaking of the glacier freaked us out.   Here’s what it looked like back then…


To give you a quick comparison, here’s what the face looked like on Sunday…


As you can see, the crevasse this time around was much wider.  It ended up being firm footing throughout, and approximately 12 feet wide.  There was really no worry of anything falling on you or the footing giving way.  The biggest concern was slipping on ice or stepping in a deep pile of snow.  Or, of course, running into Superman and him not being happy you were taking pictures in the Fortress of Solitude.

In this photo, you can see how nice the walk was out there.  It’s still about 3 miles round-trip, but the scenery takes your mind off the distance.


And then here’s the opening we walked into.


In this next picture, you can actually see at the end how the walkway heads off to the right.  So you walk about 40 feet in, then can take a right and walk about another 25 feet.


Here go Michele and Barkley on their way in…


Here’s a jagged piece of ice hanging perilously from a huge block of the glacier.  We steered clear of this spot…


And now I have Barkely and we’ve taken a right around the corner.  Right before this photo, Barkley gave me a look that said, “I’m not in Louisiana anymore, am I?”


This is definitely one of the best photos from our adventure.  This was taken from as far back as we could make, but facing out toward the sky and the entrance.


This is a photo a lady took of all three of us deep in the glacier.  She tried to run off with our camera afterward, but slipped on a patch of ice – so we were able to retrieve it.  (Side note – I totally made up the part about the lady trying to steal the camera.)


We took this photo while looking straight up at the sky.  While this photo does exactly show it, the sky looked purple from inside the glacier.  With that strong color of blue in there, the sky looked way different than it did outside.


I took this photo of Michele and Barkley trying to fit into a little cave-like area.  She did more slipping with the Barkster in her arms, so I had to snap it quickly.  I really like this photo because it almost looks like there’s some CGI work done, like in a Star Wars remake.  But nope, this is the real deal.


Again, Barkley making more comments about not being in Louisiana.  I was like, I know, buddy, chill out.  You’re in Alaska now – you’ve been here for almost 4 months now.


After we spent about 30 minutes inside the glacier, we went back out and walked around a bit.  While it was not windy at our level, I cannot say the same for the mountain top.  This would be a miserable place to be.  Yes, that’s the wind.


It was an excellent trip out there.  I still have a few more photos, which I will post over the rest of the week.  I’ll end this post with three more photos from our trip that I thought turned out really well.  Enjoy!




Some Comparisons

23 02 2009

Turns out we got some rather amazing photos this weekend on our glacier trip (which it seems is becoming a weekly event).  But you know, I always said that when I lived within 15 minutes of a glacier, I would not take it for granted.  There will be many more photos coming this afternoon hopefully.  But here are some interesting comparison shots from our trips to he glacier in the summer versus the winter.

In the summer, it looks like this.


And to get anywhere near the face of the glacier, you have to use something like this.


This weekend, however, it looked like this.  And you could walk out there.


Once you make it to the face on a kayak, you hike along the rocks and see these pools near the ice.


This weekend, that same area looked something like this.


And a crevasse you might have to swim into like the one below.


You can now just walk into.


Michele and I are still doing research and gathering data to try to explain this phenomenon that you can walk to the glacier sometimes, but then not other times.  We have worked a few theories, but nothing we are ready to publish.  Maybe after a few more trips, we’ll be able to offer an answer.

A Sneak Peak

23 02 2009

Michele and I had a rather awesome adventure over the weekend.  Here’s a quick look.  I’ll post some photos and all on Monday, hopefully.  The quality of this video is not the best.  Michele took it with the camera long-ways, but I haven’t had time tonight to figure out how to improve the quality when you rotate the video so that it comes out upright.

Also, please keep in mind that I am not nearly as dumpy as I look in this clip.  I promise!

Again, I have not been able to embed the video here.  So please click here for the link.

The Avalanche!

18 02 2009

Two weekends ago, there was an avalanche not too far from downtown that cut off one of the roads in Juneau.  No one was hurt or anything, that we know of.  If you want to check out the article about the avalanche from our newspaper, then click here.  Appropriately enough, the avalanche did occur within the signs stating “Caution: Avalanche Area.”  At least it was respectful enough to come down within the marked boundaries.

This past Saturday, we drove down Thane Road to check out the remnants of the avalanche.  It was rather amazing.

Here’s Michele and Barkley walking along in the parking area near where the avalanche occurred.


And here are two photos of Michele and Barkley standing in front of where the snow was cleared.  If you are driving out the road, the mountain is on your left and the water is on your right.  The snow came all the way down to where the water is.  They then bulldoze the snow off to either side to clear the road.  These photos are on the left side, where the mountain goes up.



I remember Barkley commenting to us afterward that this was the first avalanche he had ever seen.  First, he touches an iceberg, then gets photographed near an avalanche – quite a day.  He slept well on Saturday night.

In this next one, you can see up the mountain along the path the snow came down.


And finally, this is a sign indicating the road is curving.  As you can see, the avalanche bent the sign down.  Now, motorists have no idea which way the road will actually curve.


A Trip to the Glacier

17 02 2009

On Saturday, we dropped Michele off at the spa around 1pm and headed over to good ole Mendenhall Glacier.  It was a beautiful day out, with no clouds in the sky and the temperature around 28.  Usually when it’s clear, the temp drops into the teens – so it was really was nice out.  As we approached the pavilion that leads down toward the glacier, I noticed that there was an iceberg in the shape of a wave out a little ways.  Of course, this was now our destination.

Here’s what the glacier looked like – nice color of blue.



Here’s a nice shot of the iceberg from behind.  Unfortunately, this guy was there with his wife and dogs trying to take a Christmas card photo.  He monopolized one side of the thing, and then got frustrated anytime someone walked by the photo he was trying to take.  I just wanted to say, “Hey man, it’s a free iceberg.”  But I didn’t.


While there are people in the second of these photos, you can still get a look at the wave-like structure of the iceberg.  Michele and I may try to head back out this upcoming weekend and take some action photos.



Here are a few close-ups of one of the neat crevices in the iceberg.  Would have made one part of a nice little fort – if only I had some blankets and pillows.



And finally, what I’m sure you have all been waiting for… Barkley’s first encounter with an iceberg.  Actually, he was preoccupied with all the other dogs around and was making it quite difficult for me to take any photos.  I guess his time at the pound made him want to check out every dog he possibly can.  But I did manage to get a few one-handed shots.




After we picked up Michele, we headed downtown and drove out Thane Road to check out the avalanche remnants.  Check back later on today for those photos and some details on the (not so) harrowing adventure.

Sunday Activities

11 02 2009

This past Sunday, Michele and I met our friend Karen for lunch, then went to see Slumdog Millionaire.  Pretty solid movie, we all agreed.  After the movie, Michele went to a yoga class, and I took Barkley out to North Douglas for a walk in our old stomping grounds.  It was absolutely dumping snow out there, so I did not bring the camera on our walk.  However, I did have the camera in the car and stopped on the way back in to photograph this lone eagle hanging out in a tree.  And fortunately, after a few pictures, he decided to fly off for me so I could get an action shot.