Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Exit Glacier Was Here

Kilroy may have been here, but there are no signs that he ever was.   But I remember when Exit Glacier was here - the sign says it was in 1998.

It was extremely disappointing when our guests got to this point and Exit Glacier was gone.  Well, it's still back there, but according to the sign it was right here in 1998.  

Here's a picture with a very similar view in 2003.  Still, the glacier had retreated significantly, but there was still much more of it.
2008 picture from this post

 I don't remember exactly where it was when, but I know when I first went to Exit Glacier - I believe the summer of 1983, maybe 84 - there was no bridge over the Resurrection River.  There was a ranger and a lot of hip waders.  You walked through the water, then all the rest of the way to the glacier.  And the glacier was all the way out to the flat rocky plain.  You could go up to it and touch it, and even venture into  a little ice nook.  That all ended a few years later when a chunk of ice broke off and killed a tourist.  Ropes went up to keep people a safe distance away - say 20 or 30 feet.

But you were right there up close to this massive glacier that went several miles up the mountain.  Soon after a path was begun up alongside the glacier and you could get magnificent views from above.  You can still do that, though there's less glacier up there too.  But it's still magnificent from up there.

The trail has gotten a little tamer.  The summers of volunteers hauling rocks around to make steps and drainages means the trail isn't all muddy.  (Or is it simply because there has been much less rain this year?)  But my old knees talked to me as I went down the rock steps.  Flatter hikes I say, though this is my favorite.

But the trail is still spectacular.  I remember when you had to cross this creek from rock to rock, not over a sturdy wooden bridge.

And while I've been in beautiful gardens created by humans, none of them can compare to this whole mountain of lush green, of water, of ice, of rock, and of flowers.

We even saw a bear, not too terribly far off.  Unfortunately, my son-in-law and grandchildren were on the other side of the bear from us and I wasn't sure how close I had to go to the bear to get to them.  It turned out fine and a ranger later said he sees the bear every day and it's learned to keep away from the people.  

One more flower.

Yellow monkey flower -
"Mimulus guttatus has been a model organism for studies of evolution and ecology. There may be as many as 1000 scientific papers focused on this species. The genome is (as of 2012) being studied in depth"  (From Wikipedia)


  1. Thanks Steve,
    Great memories of a great visit.

    (From the old guy in the 2008 picture)

  2. Unforgattable Exit Glacier! It has enabled us to meet in Anchorage.

  3. Back in the early 1960s, we used to climb on huge 'burgs frozen in the lake before Portage glacier. The glacier itself wasn't that far from the parking lot. Have this in 35mm slides my dad took back then.

    Portage Glacier is so far away now. If I find one of these shots, I'll email a copy. Friends of my generation who grew up with the Mendenhall have similar memories of closeness and playing around.

    And then, there's PW Sound tidal glaciers and how much they've changed. Incredible, and we were living in a place where it was all so present for a kid growing up.

    The evidence of change in front of our noses.

  4. Thanks for sharing these impressive photos of climate change in action. I haven't visited Alaska, but have seen similar regression on Mount Rainer.


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