The Valerie Glacier lies across Disenchantment Bay from the Hubbard Glacier. It was named for the scientist, Valerie Wood, who was killed in a plane crash while exploring the area. The glacier originates in the St. Elias Mountains. At first glance doesn't look like a glacier at all, but like a giant rock. This is because of the large amount of...more
The Hubbard Glacier begins at Mount Logan in the Yukon Territory of Canada and stretches for 76 miles until it meets the sea in Disenchantment Bay in Yukatat. The Hubbard is a "tidewater" glacier because of the way that it comes down right into the sea. It is the largest tidewater glacier in North America. At the glacier's face, in the bay, it is...more
The Wrangell-St. Elias National Park encompasses several different mountain ranges, bays and glaciers and is the largest in the U.S. National Park System. It is home to many types of wildlife including mountain goats, black and brown bears, bald eagles, whales, seals, owls and several types of fish, most especially several varieties of salmon.A...more
Yakutat was written up by Surfing Magazine and is gaining popularity among surfers around the world. At the line that separates Southeast Alaska from South Central, it is open to the entire Pacific Ocean and the site of some dramatic NW breaks. Sandy beaches that stretch for miles.more
Hubbard Glacier is located inside Yakutat Bay. In 1986 it drew lots of attention for its rapid advance threatening to close Russel Fjord and turn the long inlet it into a lake. Eventually it receded and reopened the fjord. But still it remains one of the most active glaciers in the world. The photo was taken from AMH Kennicott when we left Yakutat...more
Yakutat is a small isolated Tlingit village with population of about 800. It's the only port of call we stopped between Juneau and Valdez. No road connection to the outside world, Yakutat depends mainly on the once-a-month AMH Kennicott for supply. While Kennicott was unloading the supply, I walked around the village imagining what life would be...more
This should be obvious, but for some reason people still do it. For the brief time we were in Yakutat there was a person who came up missing while out hiking alone, and from what I can gather it's not an uncommon occurrence. No matter how talented a hiker you are, or how well you know the area you should never go alone. The weather is very changeable here and all kinds of bears and wolves and other critters roam the forests. And even if none of those things get to you, there is still the issue of getting lost---and maybe not being found. The area is truly vast; the wilderness surrounding the Yukutat area is larger than the state of Connecticut. You cell phone isn't going to work for you out there either!
This is one bizarre scene I can't forget. While leaving Yakutat I saw a funny white line on the ocean far away. When our ferry got closer I realized it's a wave. Perhaps it's caused by the conflicing currents, the wave just stayed stable at the same spot, about 30 feet wide, 3 - 5 feet high. The fixed wave was strange enough, on top of it there's a guy and a small motor boat surfing! It was a cold rainy day, and the water temperature must be nearly freezing. In the middle of nowhere I really didn't know where these people came from. Later I researched the net; the spot is called Ocean Cape and these guys were probably off-duty local coast guards. I didn't take a photo there.
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,...more
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...more
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...more