When traveling to Alaska one of the sights on most people list is to see glaciers. Juneau provides the opportunity to see a glacier up close. There is s short trail which will take you relatively close to it. For an even closer view, using a kayak will allow you to explore this beautiful ice sculpture even closer. Our adventure took us over the Nugget Falls Trail. As you near the glacier, the sound of rushing water overwhelms the air. The trail begins to clear and there is the impressive Nugget Falls pounding its way into the bay.
This rushing water appears as though it is coming right out of the mountain because the river above the falls is hidden by the landscape. Once this sight has been absorbed you continue looking over the rest of the scenery and almost take a step back after spotting the Mendenhall Glacier. Seeing the icebergs that have fallen off and are floating nearby, the size of the glacier, colors that you’ve been expecting to see but still are unprepared for, and the texture of that blue ice created from melting waters. To think about all of the stone this glacier has eroded away under its massive size and realize all it takes to destroy this moving sheet of ice is a steady flow of water carving away every hour for days and weeks, even months. What a spectacle of natural forces at work.
As the clouds move so do the colors and peaks created in the glacier providing a different view. The urge to swim to the glacier become stronger. Just to walk on it and touch. No, these waters are to cold and there is no good way around the water fall or over the mountains to touch the ice created hundreds of years ago. You have to settle for the view. A very memorable view. Once you’ve taken in the glacier there is more to explore here. In August salmon begin running up stream to spawn. This brings other wildlife as well such as eagles and bears looking for an easy snack.
Unfortunately we didn’t see either along the stream. It was still a beautiful sight and entertaining to watch as the salmon make their way upstream. There was plenty of evidence that bears had been here – fish skeletons along the side of the steam and pathways from frequent use along the shore. Timing just wasn’t right. Plenty to explore at Mendenhall.