Today we cruised past the mammoth Hubbard Glacier, one of Alaska’s advancing glaciers. It is more than six miles wide where it meets the ocean, and the face is up to 400 feet tall. Icebergs 3 to 4 stories in height aren’t uncommon.
As we approach the glacier, we begin to see small icebergs dotting the water. The sky is overcast and the shoreline has a hazy appearance.
The glacier is massive and from a distance offers little clue as to the actual scale. Remember that the face is up to 400 feet tall and about six miles wide.
The glacier extends more than 75 miles up into the mountains of Alaska and the Yukon.
Ice at the foot of the glacier fell as snow, somewhere inland, about 400 years ago. The movement of the glacier is slow enough that it takes about 400 years for compacted snow and ice to travel the 75-mile length of the glacial pathway.
As an active glacier, Hubbard is known to frequently calve, as icebergs break off from the glacier face. We observed this phenomenon a number of times as we approached the glacier. The sounds (creaks, pops, loud cracks) associated with the glacier movement were fascinating, and explosions of sound were produced when the glacier calved.
After a long day of glacier watching we joined our table mates for our first dinner together. Clockwise around the table are: Tom and Billie Rhyne; Elmire and Dave Barrios of Thibodaux, LA; Jim and Judy Brady of Maumelle, AR; and Nancy and Gary Weir of Maumelle, AR.