Saturday, August 28, 2010

Hike to Exit Glacier

August 28. It poured all the way from Anchorage, Alaska to Seward down on the Kenai Peninsula. The drive down along the Turnagain Sound was still impressive. It felt amazing to be back in Alaska. Late in the day, the rain slackened and then stopped, and there was time to do a short hike to Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park. This one mile trail is the only part of this large park accessible by auto - watercraft is the means of transportation to see this park up close. It was amazing to be so close on foot to a large glacier. The glacier itself was named because it was a way for explorers to exit the vast Harding Icefield, the largest icefield that is completely within the United States.

As we drove along the road, we suddenly saw Exit Glacier a few miles away and took a couple of shots, zooming in for the second one:

Welcome to Kenai Fjords National Park, our first of three new national parks for us this trip!
The trail is about a mile long, and you don't see a lot of the glacier, until suddenly, there it is:
Exit Glacier has melted several miles back in the last 150 years. There are signs every so often marking the point that it reached in that year. Even in my lifetime, it has receded about a half mile, not to mention the lateral distance lost. Pretty sobering, whether you believe in global warming or not. By the way, most Alaskans I talked with definitely believe that the climate is warming sharply - keep in mind that Alaska is a very conservative state. But they are living with the evidence.
This was an interesting glacier high on a nearby (relatively speaking) mountain:


  1. Wow that is really cool. What a wonderful place to visit.
    I think the doubt about global warming is not so much that its not getting warmer but the reasons for it. The temperature has always been changing and it always will. Just saying.

  2. First time I've ever been near a glacier! pretty neat. Yep, glaciers themselves and their remnants including the Great Lakes and fjords are proof that the climate is always changing. It just seems to be changing at a greatly accelerated pace right now, decades instead of centuries or millenium.