If you’re just tuning in to our Alaska adventures, here are the links to Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV. Where did we leave off last? I fell down part of the glacier, twice, and bruised myself in areas that aren’t usually bruised. Worth it! I had chickened out on the first ice climb (with ice picks) but I had somehow found myself maneuvering up the rope for the second steep ice climb. After that, it was all downhill and back – through different paths than we had first seen. I never fully relaxed.
Somehow we made our way back to a picnic table, with Cassidy and Nick having to help me across crevasses that spiraled down, down, and down. I have zero fear of heights, but I certainly tested that a lot during this trip. Finally, we could take our crampons off, even though there was still ice under the dirt. Like I said, I didn’t fully relax until we were back in the parking lot, and I looked back in wonder. I was mostly feeling accomplished that I’d hiked for five hours, and partly feeling disappointed/relieved that it was over, and also wondering if we’d ever see it again. Will we get back here? And if we do, will the Matanuska Glacier be ever more different? Only time will tell. Hopefully not too much time. And not too much changing.
After we were back in the Suburban, we decided to take Nick up on his offer to get a beer at a lodge outside the glacier. Yes, there’s a beer lodge outside the glacier. It just sits all alone, but somehow stays in business for weary hikers, rafters, tour guides, and the like. Truly, I’m astonished. I went for curiosity and to talk more with our tour guide and because I really wanted, if not a beer, something to soothe a glacier-weary soul. The restaurant/lodge was full of animals (taxidermed? taxidermied?) and they all had “Do Not Touch” signs on them, and you know some idiots tried to ride them or touch them.
Cassidy ordered a drink. I think? I ordered a double scoop ice cream bowl of Caramel Caribou and Moose Tracks. I couldn’t decide which. Also, I think Nick said that no other tourists he’d ever taken there had ordered ice cream. And the waitress said that no one there had ever ordered both ice cream flavors instead of choosing one. So it’s pretty good to be a pioneer in the field of ordering ice cream at a random, isolated beer lodge next to a glacier. Also, I get the feeling Nick does not invite all of his clients out for a beer, so I was going to eat that ice cream, NOT grope the animals, and love the whole experience. The lodge sat over a moose-filled field, but there were no moose that day. Nick said our drive home would be full of moose.
The view was already flawless, but this moment of sunny rain. It was so good. It was so good that people who live in Alaska were pulled over and taking photos too. I think we were all equally stunned, no matter where we’re from, by this evening.
Ok, those were all photos from Cassidy’s cellphone, which is so nice to reference. Now I took a few photos with my camera too. It was raining. And sunny. And raining. And stunning. And that’s probably when we both fell in love with Alaska. Here:
We didn’t see any moose on the road from Matanuska Glacier to Anchorage. It’s about a two hour drive maybe? Time is not really relative so maybe it was one hour. Or three. All I know is that the rainbows followed us all the way back to Eagle River.
Now if you remember, this is still the first full day in Alaska. We had landed in Anchorage the night before and spent the night with family. Then we woke up and had breakfast at Snow City Cafe, checked into our cabin in Eagle River, and then went on our reindeer/glacier/rainbow adventures. We went back to Eagle River, with the double rainbows, and didn’t even get dinner after that long day. Instead we went out looking for moose in Eagle River by the Nature Center. Cassidy’s eagle eyes saw a cow moose by the river. We drove back and forth and later saw her still there, but this time there was another cow moose too – bathing in the river. I like to imagine they were having quite a conversation! I don’t have pictures from this because I was tired and it was so dark! We were starving and went to the Pizza Man for a midnight dinner. Remember, the sun didn’t set until after 10:00pm. Remember, everything is awesome. This day is when it happened. Falling head over heels in love.
Coming up..believe it or not, even after eating at midnight, we set our alarms for 5:30am for some early morning moosing. What do you think? Will we really get up before dawn? Will we see moose? What WILL we see? Oh dear god – SO MUCH.