Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Local Customs

  • Unloading from the tour boat - adventure-bound!
    Unloading from the tour boat -...
    by mtncorg
  • Waiting for the on-time arrival of the tour boat
    Waiting for the on-time arrival of the...
    by mtncorg
  • Whoooaaa there!!
    Whoooaaa there!!
    by mtncorg

Most Recent Local Customs in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

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    DOUBLE KAYAKS ARE A TEAM SPORT

    by mtncorg Written Jan 24, 2005

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    Togetherness is uniformity?

    Want to know a good way to proceed down the road to divorce? Buy a double kayak! ;-] Some doubles are definitely better than others. Get one with a short throw between the two paddlers - like in some of the cheaper folding doubles - and the occasional clacking of paddles can become a ready source of friction. The hardshells usually have their two cockpits separated far enough for this to not be too much of a problem. Whichever double you go with, folding or hardshell, you’ll go much more efficiently and quicker working together. I guess that could describe a marriage too? ;-/

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    • Beaches
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    BE PATIENT WAITING FOR YOUR PICK-UP

    by mtncorg Written Jan 24, 2005

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    Waiting for the on-time arrival of the tour boat

    The tour boat drop-off/pick-up points are a long ways from the Park Headquarters. When it is time for you to return to civilization, give yourself plenty of time - be packed and ready to go when the boat shows up. Otherwise, it can be a three-day paddle back!

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    • Camping
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    RIDE THE ICE

    by mtncorg Written Jan 24, 2005

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    Whoooaaa there!!

    Not always will you meet the icebergs afloat. Twenty foot tides leave many stranded along the shore, slowly melting away. All sizes and shapes can be found. You can use your imagination and don’t worry …. They are tame enough.

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    BE READY FOR YOUR OFFLOAD

    by mtncorg Written Jan 24, 2005

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    Unloading from the tour boat - adventure-bound!

    If you are doing a personal kayak tour from one of the pick-up/drop-off points along the tour boats route, be prepared for a quick drop off when the boat gets in to the shore. Almost as soon as the boat pulls in, they drop you and your gear off, then they are off. Your adventure has just begun!

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    Cracking Crab Meat

    by mrclay2000 Written Sep 14, 2003

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    two Dungeness crabs, Bartlett Cove

    In Glacier Bay, it's not unlikely that you can spot the living portions of the grub served up in the Glacier Bay Lodge. While fish is pound-for-pound the most common entree on the menu, crabs are also huge for the local and state economy. King crabs and the Dungeness crabs pictured here are always subject to seizure if found in the net, and ultimately bound for the kitchen. What you see one day on the pilings might appear on your plate the next.

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    Put Your Weight Behind It!

    by mrclay2000 Written Aug 6, 2003

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    wheelbarrows and day-use cabin

    Near the docks by the park information station stands one of many day-use cabins for self-storage (for a 24-hour limit). Food caches like this appear at intervals around the Bartlett Cove Campground due south from here along the beach (by a badly marked trail). The wheelbarrows are also intended for short-term use, since kayakers and campers at any time might be hauling their tent, their BRFCs, their sleeping bags, their kayaking gear, and other miscellany too cumbersome to carry by hand. No forms to fill out. Just select a barrow and return it when finished.

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    Summer Visitors Waiting for the Fall

    by mrclay2000 Updated Aug 1, 2003

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    waiting for the ice plunge (not for themselves)

    Whenever cruise ships or tour boats rest before the tidewater glaciers, the deck is normally cluttered with tourists and cameras trying to capture every detail of the attraction. More importantly, visitors delight in (and almost equally dread) the sudden collapse of a tower of ice into the frozen bay. For thirty minutes at a time, all eyes are glued to the scene and the expectation is almost palpable.

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    • National/State Park
    • Sailing and Boating

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    There She Blows!

    by mrclay2000 Written Jul 31, 2003

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    humpback blowing near Bartlett Cove

    Humpbacks might be found anywhere inside the deeper recesses of Glacier Bay, but particularly around Bartlett Cove and the lower bay as far north as Sebree Island. Motorized vessels are specifically restricted from certain waters between July 1 and August 31 of each year to allow unrestricted feeding by these hungry giants. For six months out of every twelve they feed in Alaskan waters, only to fast the rest of the year in the warmer stations around Hawaii.

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    • Whale Watching

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    Finding Your Groove

    by mrclay2000 Written Jul 31, 2003

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    Rendu Inlet drop site (note kayakers at bottom)

    The dropoffs for backcountry kayakers and campers are by no means very conspicuous landings. The Sebree Island drop is relatively unique in its position and is furthermore marked by a single cairn. The Rendu Inlet is marked by nothing. Kayakers and campers will do well in any dropzone in taking particular care to return to the exact spot where you were dropped off. . . the concessionaires will not cruise up and down the inlets looking for wayward travelers.

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    Spirits of the Past

    by mrclay2000 Updated Jul 31, 2003

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    tree carvings reminiscent of the Tlingits

    In the 250 years since Glacier Bay literally came into existence with the recession of a huge glacial mass, the Tlingit Indians were among the first people to hunt, trap and subsist in the area now claimed for the national park. Though no trace of the Indians' presence remains, and almost nothing is left of its culture, certain broad-trunked trees bear emblems that might have marked the Tlingit influence over a century ago.

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    Do Not Feed the Animals!

    by mrclay2000 Written Jul 31, 2003

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    just a single flake starts a bad chain reaction

    People who visit national parks are as apt to feed a pigeon or squirrel as they would their family pet. Don't do it! For one, the animals in the parks are wild and intended to stay that way. The more park visitors feed the wildlife, the more dependent the animals become, and the more they lose the ability if not the instinct to feed themselves. Wild animals also carry diseases that first-aid kits are not designed to control. Instances such as this crow looking for a handout at the Glacier Bay Lodge might be a choice encounter for one diner, but a nuisance to the next.

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    Leave No Trace

    by mrclay2000 Written Jul 31, 2003

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    under the spruce forest and behind the tall grass

    Campers and kayakers in the upper bays are to leave no trace of their presence. You are required to leave the area as you found it, with one exception. If the area has already been trampled down, you are expected to find another location. Backcountry campsites in Glacier Bay are plentiful but not always easy to discover. Like Denali, Glacier Bay insists that you camp where your tent is invisible to other park-goers, but where Denali suggests camping in the open, Glacier Bay invites you to haul your tent into the spruce or alder away from the beach. Kayaks are also to be tethered where they are invisible to other park-goers.

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    The Intertidal Zone - Your Activity Arena

    by mrclay2000 Updated Jul 31, 2003

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    parallel lines on the beach mark the tides

    The tides in Glacier Bay are extreme. Between high and low tide, the difference may be as much as 25 feet (compared with 7 or 8 feet for Kodiak Island). Park officials urge campers to use the intertidal zone (the area on the beach marked by the high and low tidelines) for cooking, laundering, bathing, shaving and even your bathroom breaks. The reasoning is because the tides will wash away your scent and your waste and leave no trace of your passage -- provided you pack out your toilet paper. A good container for this is a gallon ziplock bag (an unsavory but essential medium in this pristine wilderness).

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    • Kayaking

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    The first day out was an...

    by richiecdisc Written Oct 4, 2002

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    The first day out was an experience. We never seemed to come across a fresh water stream and were worried about finding drinking water. Ina had the brilliant idea of filtering the water from an iceberg, there was certainly no shortage of them. The only problem was waiting for the drips to fill our pan so we could pump up a liter or two. It was ice cold though! Ironically, no sooner did we make some water in this fashion, we came across loads of small streams.

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