The Johns Hopkins Glacier was named after Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland in 1893 by H.F. Reid. It is the only major tidewater glacier at Glacier Bay that is advancing. The Johns Hopkins Glacier is a relatively fast moving glacier. A high volume of ice calves (breaks off) from this glacier. The ice then floats in the bay as mini icebergs until it melts. In fact so much ice calves from this glacier that the bay in front of it usually contains so much ice that most larger boats can not approach to within two miles of the its face.
Just like most national parks, wildlife inhabits Glacier Bay. Sea mammals including harbor seals, sea otters, and whales are often seen there. Birds that fly above the bay include numerous seagulls and majestic bald eagles.
We saw sea mammals, both large and small close to the mouth of the bay. Whales can be spotted by looking for the spray of water that they blow out of their blow holes. When they dive, they expose their enormous tail fins as they submerge to the depths of the bay.
Further inside the bay birds were more plentiful. An abundance of seagulls were nesting on the shore near Margerie Glacier. Some of them visited our ship, likely looking for handouts or scraps.
We saw several bald eagles at Glacier Bay. Two of them were resting together on a small iceberg that floated past our ship. Others soared overhead at Margerie Glacier. One was spotted landing on the glacier where he rested for a while.
Nearby the Margerie Glacier lies the massive Grand Pacific Glacier. The Grand Pacific Glacier is covered with rocks and dirt, giving it a blackened appearance. At 2 miles wide, it is the widest of the tidewater glaciers in Glacier Bay. Although magnificent, its dirty appearance distracts from the natural beauty like that seen in other tidewater glaciers. Yet this dark glacier is inherently impressive.
The Margerie Glacier is a beautiful sheet of ice that extends right into Glacier Bay. It is about 250 feet high. Our ship was able to remain directly in front of the Margerie Glacier for some time. We were able to take in the grand view, watch bald eagles soar, and witness the spectacular calving, where the old ice breaks from the face of the glacier and splashes into the bay below. This glacier was the highlight of our trip to Glacier Bay. The glacier is named after the French geographer and geologist Emmanuel de Margerie who visited Glacier Bay in the 1913.
The Lamplugh Glacier rises about 150 feet above the water. Like most of the glaciers in Glacier Bay, the Lamplugh Glacier is receding. It is estimated that in less than one hundred years, the Lamplugh Glacier will no longer touch the bay, and would thus cease to be a tidewater glacier.
The Lamplugh Glacier was named by Lawrence Martin of the United States Geological Survey around 1912. He named it afer the English geologist, George W. Lamplugh, who visited Glacier Bay in 1884.
The Johns Hopkins Glacier is another one of the famous glaciers in Glacier Bay National Park. It is 12 miles long and runs into Johns Hopkins Inlet, a brannch of Glacier Bay. The Johns Hopkins glacier, which named after the university in Baltimore, is unusual in that it one of the few glaciers in Alaska that is actually expanding, not receding.
The Grand Pacific Glacier is one of the biggest glaciers in Glacier Bay National Park. At its mouth, it is about two miles wide, and a few hundred feet high. It is not as pretty as the nearby Margerie Glacier, because of the large amount of dirt and rocks that darken its face. However, its sheer size is impressive, and we saw it calf numerous large chunks of ice while we were near it.
The Margerie Glacier is a glacier in Glacier Bay National Park that runs all the way down to the water, where it is about 1/2 mile wide and more than 200 feet high. Our cruise ship got to within 1/4 mile of it, so we got a great view of the ice and were able to see it calving (pieces dropping off into the water).
As you stand in front of the glaciers waiting for the ice cracking, admire the magnificent forms of the icem changing every day as they melt and freeze. The blues will hypnotize you and the shapes will cas a spell on you forever.
Stand in front of the glaciers and stand still in silence. Every once you will hear a roaring sound. Then the huge pieces of ice break and fall into the waters. Birds fly as crazy around the broken pieces of ices, expecting to catch some fish. The ondulating waters move towards your ship and you will feel the movement of the waters. This cracking is one of the greatest experiences you'll enjoy ever.
Cruises arrive very early to the entrance of Glacier Bay. As the fog dissipates, you cross these calm and pristine waters until you reach the glacier you will be stopping at. Ships enter and exit as you cruise into the area.
This is another superlative among superlatives … and not on the cruise ship itinerary. Mountain walls rise over 6000 feet directly from the sea. Glaciers fall about all around. Just you and your kayak making your way through the sea of icebergs. The inlet was named for a visiting scientific group from the Baltimorean university know for its lacrosse teams (see ellielou’s Baltimore pages for that other curious Baltimorean sport, duckpins). If you have the rare clear day, the peaks of the Fairweather Range crown the western horizon at over 15000 feet - just a bare 15 miles away!!
Sunsets in June and early July here in Glacier Bay come very late - 2330 or so. Summer day temperatures vary between 45-65 F and long periods of rain and overcast are not uncommon. That means when you do have a sunset, savor it! It seems to last forever. Watch how far into the northwestern sky the sun sets. Imagine its winter inverse :-0 Even from the Glacier Bay Lodge, the sunsets can be quite dramatic when they occur. Best observed with a good friend and maybe a bottle of Alaskan Amber.
In the area of Ptarmigan Creek and Reid Inlet, you can see evidence of former mining activity on a small and personal scale. This was not Kennecott but individuals out seeking their fortune or maybe just using mining as an excuse to live an adventure?
Before there was a park or even a State, hardy miners ventured into these icy vast holds in search of riches, mostly in vain. You can find their cabins and mine workings scattered here and there - a testimony to their dreams and hard work. One of the better known miners, Joe Ibach, set his cabin up next to Reid Inlet. His wife planted the spruce trees around the cabin - natural spruce has not returned this far upbay naturally yet, the ice having retreated from here only in the late 19th century.
Ibach and his wife lived here for some years before moving to an island just south of Glacier Bay to raise mink. When Joe’s wife died, unable to consider continuing alone in total isolation, Joe put an end to his own life.
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