I work by a lake. A very young lake – a hundred years ago it didn’t exist. Instead, there was a glacier. The glacier is still there, but, as it’s melted and retreated over the past century, it left behind a deep valley that filled in with its liquid remains. Such is the nature of time and the effects of climate change.
Because of the extent to which the glacier has retreated, it can no longer be seen from the shore. The hike up to Portage Pass that gets you a view requires a jaunt through a timed-entry toll tunnel (which makes me disinclined for those two obvious reasons). The other option is to purchase a ticket and go out on the cruise boat that runs hour-long tours to the face of the glacier.
It’s taken me four months of living and working on the edge of this lake to get out on the boat (factor in that I get to go for free and I really have no good excuses). It was well worth it and a fun way to spend a sunny afternoon in Portage Valley.
That was a big item on my Alaska summer checklist. With only one more weekend left before I migrate south, good thing I got it in when I did!
Glaciers are my favorite thing about living in Alaska.
Which makes today one of my most favorite days of living here so far.
Huge chunks of ice have been calving off of Portage Glacier in recent days. A few of these icebergs have made their way across the lake to just outside the Visitor Center (thanks to the williwaw winds that also bring us that cold, sideways rain).
Portage Glacier is a lacustrine glacier, meaning that it acts like a tidewater glacier but instead of dropping into the ocean it’s dropping into a lake (the USFS might explain it better). This type of glacier is a bit rare from what I understand. It’s pretty cool that I get to live next door to one…
There’s no better way to start your day than happening upon an unexpected iceberg. If you don’t know this from personal experience, just trust me that it’s true.