The glowing blue ice that makes up glaciers is squeezed and compacted over hundreds or even thousands of years, changing the structure of its ice crystals. The ice crystals in glaciers become very dense, causing them to reflect light in much the same way that the earth's atmosphere does. All light is relected by glacial ice except for blue light, making glaciers appear blue in the same way that the sky does.
To me, the blue glow of glaciers makes them look almost other-worldly. They are very beautiful and something you almost have to see to really understand. Pictures just can't do it justice.
Favorite thing: Disenchantment Bay lies at the end of the larger Yukatat Bay, connecting its bigger neighbor to the mountains and the Hubbard and Valerie Glaciers. It was named by the Spanish explorer Alessandro Malaspina in 1792 who called it "Puerto del Desengano" after sailing his ship all the way to the end and finding a giant wall of ice rather than the mythical Northwest Passage.
Mount St. Elias is Yukutat's tallest mountain, and at 18,000 feet it is hard to miss from anyplace in the area. The mountain was first "discovered" by the Danish explorer Vitus Bering in 1741 on the Danish holiday of St. Elias Day, while he was exploring the area for Russia's Czar.
The native Tlingits call the mountain "waseitishaa" which translates to "mountain in icy water" in English.
From the town of Yukutat it is easy to hire a helicopter to take you up to see the mountain or to drop you off for a hiking excursion. St. Elias is popular with mountain climbers. Private guides are available as well, and are recommended if you don't know the mountain well.
Favorite thing: I visited Yakutat in a drizzling morning. Near the harbor I photographed this lone bald eagle on tree top. It's soaking wet.