The vastness of
cannot be stressed enough. The bay is sixty miles long and ten miles
wide at its widest point with two major arms that branch off to the east and to
the west, each with their own network of inlets. It’s the largest protected
marine area within the national park system and the largest Unesco World
Heritage Site – approximately 3.3 million acres with more than 450 miles of
coastline to explore. Glacier Bay National Park
And 235 years ago, it was completely covered in ice.
The Master Builder chose for a tool,
not the thunder and lightning to rend and split asunder,
not the stormy torrent nor the eroding rain,
but the tender snowflake, noiselessly falling through unnumbered generations. – John Muir
When asked, most people will say they prefer Tracy Arm to
Glacier Bay. But you can’t compare the two. They’re completely
different experiences. Tracy Arm is a constant barrage of the senses: It’s
narrow and intimate with one incredible sight after the other. Glacier Bay is quieter,
more relaxed: Mile after mile of the same view, tempting and teasing you with
the thought of reaching it in hopes that, when you finally do, your time and
effort will be rewarded.
For the first 20 miles or so out of Bartlett Cove, the landscape is fairly ordinary and uninspiring. Hours pass under the keel before the scenery starts to take shape and the landscape finally comes into focus. But once it does, it’s as if it’s as if time stands still. And yet, it passes passes more quickly: The earth grows younger, wilder. Marine life dots the waterway – sea otters, puffins, harbor porpoise. And massive, rugged mountains appear ghostlike in the distance.
Note: This blog was written on Monday, 06 July 2015.