MY DREAM CAME TRUE!
Reviews of bucket-list-worthy things to do all over the world

Glacier Trekking!

After dinner one night, my uncle was sharing photos from his Alaskan cruise. And then, I saw it… My jaw dropped and I asked, “Is that a glacier?” My uncle told me that his ship had cruised into a bay where they saw a calving glacier. “Is it really that color?” I asked. I was referring to the beautiful otherworldly blue of the icy monstrosity. “Yes,” he told me. In that moment, a dream was born.

Months later, on a rainy June day, I stood on a lower deck of the Celebrity Summit peering out of a large porthole as we sailed into Disenchantment Bay. The name apparently comes from a 1700’s explorer’s disappointment that the bay was not an entrance to the Northwest Passage. For me, the bay was absolutely enchanting. The water was filled with hundreds of small chunks of ice that gave way to larger icebergs until we were face to face with Hubbard Glacier.

For hours, we stared at the icy wall. I was mesmerized. Suddenly, there was a large crack and then a low rumble. Chunks of ice split from the glacier and splashed into the bay creating a wave of water that advanced toward our ship. Even though our ship was huge, we could feel it rock a little when the wave reached us. It was truly an awesome experience.

A few days later, when we arrived in our port city of Juneau, Alaska, I was disappointed to find that it was another rainy day. Before our trip, I had booked NorthStar Trekking's "Helicopter Glacier Walkabout" as our excursion in Juneau. I wondered whether the rain would cancel the helicopter ride that would land us on Mendenhall Glacier, but the people at NorthStar Trekking reassured me that the rain would probably pass. We hopped inside a van, then climbed into a helicopter, and, by the time we arrived on the glacier, bundled up in our NorthStar-Trekking-issue black snow pants, red jackets and boots, the rain was over.

The guides handed out trekking poles and tied crampons (spiked attachments) to our boots for traction. Wearing my crampons, I was amazed at how easily I could walk along the slippery glacier and even climb down icy “stairs” leading into a moulin (chute through which water enters a glacier from the surface). I marveled at the blue ice under our feet and a stream of crystal clear water flowing past us.

Our guide suggested that we dump our bottled water into the stream and take a taste of fresh glacier water. We eagerly dumped our water and one by one the guide filled our bottles with ice cold glacier water. I took a sip and it tasted great, but, when it's ice cold, any decent water tastes great. I slid the bottle into my pack.

A few hours later, back on our warm, cozy ship, I pulled out the bottled glacier water, now at room temperature, and I took another sip. It was the best water that I have ever tasted!

I did this in 2006 near Hubbard Glacier and on Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska, USA.

Jen (California, USA)