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?
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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!