The Alaska Trip: Day 3, Hubbard Glacier
As I said, Alaska is humongous. Gigantic. Bigger than that, really. Much bigger.
Bizarrely, things therefore look small, because everything is so far away.
The contradiction jumped out at me as I gazed at Hubbard Glacier, a photo of which I’ve put just to the right. The thing is, that small line of blue-white at the bottom? That’s the glacier. And it rises 350 feet above the sea! (City dwellers, think of a 30-story building.)
This information comes via the National Park Service, along with other impossible facts. The glacier is actually 600 feet high, but 250 feet of it are below the water. The visible face is the terminus of a 7-mile wide river of ice that flows for 76 miles. (Yes, flows. Ice in Alaska does that.) By the time the ice reaches the end it’s some 450 years old.The ice is constantly breaking off (“calving”), creating icebergs, which the sea gradually breaks up into smaller pieces of ice that litter the surrounding water for miles. The other contradiction is the amount of greenery right next to all this frozenness. Much of Alaska, I would learn the next day, is actually a rainforest, with the ice merely punctuating vibrant and verdant woodlands.
Fog and icebergs prevented us from approaching Hubbard Glacier too closely, but even so, I managed to take a few pictures. It would have been worth traveling to Alaska just to see this beautiful array of white snow, blue ice, and green trees.