Saturday, June 11, 2011

Walking on ice

Monday morning found us docked in Juneau, and the weather is glorious. The sky is clear blue, the sun is shining, and it feels like it's nearly 70 degrees outside. This is awesome because we all have helicopter flights scheduled today, and it seems clear none of them will get cancelled. We're also going whale watching later, so the beautiful weather is definitely a plus.

We've booked both of the excursions through Orca Enterprises, so when we disembark, our first stop in the morning is their office. My sisters in law are going on a dog sled expedition, my mom, Todd and I are going for the simple ice field landing. My brothers booked through the ship and are doing a slightly longer "glacier trek", which gives them a bit more ice time.

After we check in, we have to wait for a shuttle van to take us out to the airfield. Then we view the safety video..."while boarding the helicopter, do not stick your hands over your head to wave". Brilliant advice!

Here is our helicopter, ready to board

We lift off, and soon are soaring over the Juneau ice field.

This is an icefall

We are only in the air for about 20 minutes, then we touch down, somewhere on Herbert Glacier.

The ice is blue, which you can see through the streams of water and in the crevasses. This is because the ice is so dense it absorbs all the colors of the spectrum, and only reflects the blue.

Here we are, enjoying the day

After about 15-20 minutes we have to go. We board our helicopter for the brief ride back to the airfield. We get a nice view of Mendenhall glacier on the way

This has been fantastic. I'm so glad we talked ourselves into it. I didn't even find it particularly scary.

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