How I Honeymooned Your Father, Part III: Matanuska Glacier

If you’re just tuning in to our Alaska adventures, here are the links to Part I and Part II. Where did we leave off last? There were flying reindeer, aloof, side-eyeing elk, and a mad rush to get to our glacier hike on time. Would we get there by 2:30?

Would we get there in time, and if so, what on earth would we find there?

Sometimes, in Alaska and in general, you don’t know what you’re walking into. Before we planned this Alaskan honeymoon, I had no idea what we’d do in Alaska and where we’d go. I just thought.. yeah.. Alaska. Seeing moose. I would be happy to just to lie back and photograph moose all day. With some occasional ice cream, maybe. Or halibut. Because Alaska. Yet I’m a terrible planner when there’s someone better at it, and that someone is usually Cassidy, and it’s no prideful thing to tell you that this is a real problem with us. With me. But I have to tell you, it brought me to places I’d never have gotten on my own.

Like this:

When I considered a FIVE HOUR glacier walk, I considered being cold. Being rained on. Being bored. (why on earth did I ever think that??) I never considered that it might be a true and trying adventure, and that I might look back and not be able to believe I did it. And that if I had known what it would be like, I may have psyched myself out. I do that sometimes. (SPOILER)

All I know is, that I’d follow these two anywhere..

The reason I lagged behind, which you will see in a lot of photos, is not because I was slower. We all know I’m quite ferociously fast when I want to be. There’s a Tamara song that’s a Phish song. It’s called “Fast Enough For You.” The reason you’ll see a lot of photos of their.. uh.. backs (we’ll go with backs) is because I stopped to take pictures every few minutes. There were times I was actually slower because of gravity, fear, and ice, but we’ll get to that. There’s trust in oneself too.

Let’s go back to the reindeer farm, in fact. Just like I’m convinced that Alaska weather has nothing to do whatsoever with what is on the forecast, I also think that speed, distance and maps are the same way. We had to get to the glacier walk check-in by 2:15 (I think?) and Google Maps initially showed as arriving there by 2:30. I kept watching that change as we drove, and of course, we were on time. So I think they were predicting a car going 25 miles per hour. It’s like Yellowstone that way! The roads were completely moosey (a word I’m willing to bet I made up) and there were signs every three feet reminding us that moose might be there. Like I’d forget! We actually didn’t see any on that road, though! Which was fine.

Too many other things to see. Like myself. I stared at myself. And mountains.

As you may know, we totally made it in time to check in. We met our guide, Nick, who deserves a post of his own. If you’re ever in Alaska and decide that you want to hike the Matanuska Glacier – which of course you do – go with Nova. It’s a no-brainer. This post is as unsponsored as they come. Every Alaska post I write is 100% and I may say what I think you might like, as if I’m in the business of thinking what people might like? I’m not. But if I were, I’d tell you to get professional photos taken, and buy more rainbow sprinkles. But only the good kind. Yes. Nova. Nick. Lacing up some bad-a** shoes and crampons.

Is that not the best/worst word in life?

Nick then told us to use the bathroom for the last chance – because there are no restrooms on glaciers (strange, no?) – and that we’d take a drive to the glacier. Sensing my slight anxiety when I asked how long it would take to get there, he deadpanned – “Oh, two and a half hours.” It was really about ten minutes, with an Alaskan breeze blowing through the Suburban – and I had a whole six seats to myself. Just me and my crampons. My crampons and me. A true love story.

We parked before the glacier road because we wanted to see stuff that looked like this:

Photoshop is needed so minimally. Like, not at all. This is really just about Lightroom converting my RAW files into jpegs. Alaska has its own natural filter. Its own actions. I think if I were to edit these colors, I’d lose something. The TRUTH.

And then, we went around some bends, paid the entrance fee, and.. THERE SHE IS!

The walk out to the glacier is a lot longer than it looks so far. The terrain changes. Even when you think you’re standing on dirt, you may be standing on ice. Even on a warm day, you could get hypothermia by sitting on the ice. There is water and if you can’t see the bottom, it can be TERRIBLY deep. Like, you could drop a big rock in one of those mini pools, and not hear the rock hit the bottom. SCARY! You could be walking on what looks safe, and step right into one of those pools of eternity. You could think you’re ok walking on ice in tennis shoes, until you break your butt. Nick called those tourists – “shoebies.”

Why no crampon love?? It looks safe when you start.

It started out so innocently. I just thought we were touring a glacier. Even when the terrain changed and changed again, I still just thought we were touring a glacier. I realize now that every tour is different and that every tour guide feels out the clients for what they’re capable of – physically and emotionally. They are highly skilled and trained and two of them even humored me by listening to and participating in my made up stories about Ice Giants, Ice Spiders, Ice Sharks, and whatever else I talked about. Crampons and rainbow sprinkles? I have to pat myself on the back for keeping my strangeness with me.

No matter where I am.

glacier

Still confidently following these two, and my camera, everywhere. Admiring the views..

glacier

glacier

glacier

The Ice Giants live deep in the Ice Crevasses.

Then we stopped. There was a picnic table there! (but no restrooms?) That’s when Nick asked us to have a snack, a drink, and a rest, because things were about to get more serious! Ice Giants time?? Maybe he didn’t say things were going to get serious.

I just assumed..

What do you think – is Cassidy going to boldly go where no Bowmans (I think?) have ever gone before? Will I keep following those two gentlemen? Will my camera fall off a mountain? Will the Ice Giants get me? All that and more, SOON!

This is only halfway through our first full day in Alaska. Stay tuned. This miniseries goes is going in some directions!

See ya SOON!

P.S. Des watched me write this, looked at all the photos, and kept saying, “Oh dear – I have SO many questions.” Indeed.

Part IV


Comments

How I Honeymooned Your Father, Part III: Matanuska Glacier — 62 Comments

  1. Wow!!! Alaska is so beautiful. I never dreamed it would be such a beautiful place. I’m not a fan of the cold. So I’ve never thought about going there. But your pictures make even someone like me want to witness this beauty in person.

  2. Great photos of the glacier. Kind of scary about falling into the pods though. Those are badass footgear. What was the temperature outside? It looks cold and warm at the same time.

    • VERY scary! It was about 65 or so, maybe warmer under the sun. Even on the ice! That’s why it’s funny to be warm but yet if you sit on the ice for too long, it’s dangerous.

  3. THIS IS STUNNING!! So, maybe it’s official, I may NEED a trip to Alaska. I cannot wait to show my husband your photos.
    I always take pictures of everyone’s backs. I’m seem to fall behind often to take pictures, and I love to take pictures of hand holding when nobody is looking. πŸ™‚
    XOXO

    • Keep showing him! I’ll keep posting.
      You just reminded me of a shot I took of a bride and groom at a wedding and it was from behind, and they were holding hands. I met up with the bride this week and she showed me a book she made of the wedding photos and that photo closed the book!

  4. Oh man, I love all those photos and now you’ve totally make my longing to go to Alaska even more intense. Guess what? I’d have stayed behind too because that’s what I do. I have to lag so I can get a million photos. πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to see the other pics.

  5. Crampons may indeed be the best word ever. Better than amok. At first I thought you made a typo and meant to say “tampons.”

    We hiked to the base of a glacier on Mount Rainier, but the size and scope in Alaska is just bigger. Amazing!

  6. Oh my gosh those shoes for the glacier! Those are something to behold. Do you rent them like bowling shoes? Or does the company provide them? Your husband is one tough dude, there is no way I could hike that hypothermia induced place without a parka or more. Must be the New England blood vs Southern AZ blood I guess πŸ™‚

    • They are all part of the cost, which is a LOT more than bowling! I think the sneakers alone are $400 sneakers if I remember correctly. So we “borrowed” the shoes and crampons quite happily.
      It was actually warm out there! 65-70. That’s why it was confusing that you could get hypothermia from sitting on the ice, but I bet it would take a lot of sitting for that to happen.

  7. I can’t help but link crampons to a monthly cycle. Just seems like a mashup of appropriate words! πŸ™‚ Alaska is absolutely stunning. I can imagine the air was crisp and the sense of adventure was high! I’m so glad you got to experience this!

    • Crampons and tampons. Exactly! I think like.. nothing else rhymes with tampons so you can’t help but notice this. And cramps = time of the month. So.. maybe they should be called clampons? In my opinion.
      It was a bit crisp there, but mostly warm! Hard to believe, right?

  8. I had to pee as soon as I got to the part where you couldn’t pee and I felt obligated to hold it. Scary-Awesome pictures. Oh dear is right! So those little spots of water are super deep? Seems like there should be penguins. No penguins?

    • No penguins! It was pretty close to Anchorage, and about 65-70 degrees! I think the penguins are way north, but I don’t know!
      And this comment made me have to pee.

  9. Honestly this looks rather like my front yard after some serious snow storms. LOL I could use some crampons to get safely down the driveway to my car. although my ice skates are more fun. HA What I really need to know is if I can camp here? Because I think that would be an amazing view to wake up to each day. Can you just picture lying in your sleeping bad, the tent door open to the cool fresh air, and the mountains and glaciers your morning view. Now that’s a shot to capture.
    You better be going up that ice wall girl!!! I need to see!!! πŸ™‚

  10. SOOOOOO COOL!!!!! I climbed Mt Robson (sp?) gosh, almost 20 years ago- and your pictures remind me of some of the glaciers we saw when we were in our three day climb. The glacier water color is like no OTHER. It’s just STUNNING, isn’t it?

    I love ALL of this, T. SO MUCH.

    And Des- oh that boy just kills me. SO hilarious! I’m impressed he WAITED to ask all the questions! My boy would be blurting them out like a machine gun. lol

    • Whoa about Mt. Robson! What an experience! And it’s true about the glacier water! That strange grey/slate blue. You noticed it! You really did! I was wondering if someone would point it out.
      Des is great. He’s just looking at these photos like, “WTH?”

  11. This series is incredible, really incredible. From the storytelling and the photographs, each post I’m 8ncreasingly excited and thinking how I might actually want to visit Alaska myself some day!

    You have an amazing sense of things, Tamara, and I’m so glad to “know” you and to travel this adventure through your photos! πŸ™‚

    • Aww, thank you!! It makes me so happy to imagine my friends wanting to go there. I know I want to go back.. like 100 times.
      I love your sense of things too, my friend. What a wonderful comment.

    • Thank you!! Me too! I believe the next one will be Wednesday. I was thinking today but it takes a long time to do the photos and we were out all day. So yay to something to look forward to this week!

    • Which is funny because it was so warm!! It was 65-70 and the sun was strong. But then if you sit on the ice for too long, you can nearly kill yourself.
      Ah, Alaska.

  12. I wish I could insert all of the emoticons here to let you know how much I pink puffy heart this series and your photographs and the glaciers and the ice and crampons and mooosen. I really never considered Alaska a destination that I’d want to put tops on my “must-visit” list–I believe your words–this post–may have changed my mind. Gorgeous.

    Oh, and thank you for the phish reference πŸ™‚ I love finding nuggets like that in your writing. XO

  13. It looks like you’re in a different world! Or maybe at that point, you were. The views are stunning! I’d probably be scared walking on ice, thinking it might break. But I’d never turn down an offer. It’s one sunny freezing adventure!

  14. Sadly, my leg would never let me do that. But on the bright side, it looks damn cold and I don’t know that I’d want to…glad I could live it vicariously. But looking at Cassidy in a tshirt is giving me goosebumps.

  15. Wow. Just, wow. Those photos are so gorgeous. i’ve seen some beautiful places, but I’m not sure they compare to your Alaska. And crampons is definitely the best and worst word all wrapped into one!

  16. Oh wow. Alaska looks kind of like Washington – only grander and more Alaska-ish. But there are definite similarities. We don’t have any glaciers like that though – unless you go to the big mountains, like Rainier. I love all the pictures of your husband smiling back at you. You can just see the joy in his face!

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