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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Seward to Soldotna ~ The Hike ~ The Ride

The Hike!
Drizzling all night and still at it this morning. Helen insisted that we at least go and see if the Park Ranger was still planning on going for a hike up to Exit Glacier. It wasn’t raw just drizzling ever so slightly. We drove the 8.5 miles to the Kenai Fjords National Park. The Ranger Staff were at a staff meeting, but a park maintenance employee said they would be going but at 11am instead of 10am. He said we could go on the hike by ourselves. The trails were well marked. The sign outside the visitor center said that a mother Grizzly and two cubs were spotted at the 1910 Maraine excavation site. He said if you see the Grizzly just stand your ground and let mama gather her cubs and be on her way. Helen said, “what about a bear bell?” “Not a bad idea, if you have one.” Another couple from Michigan overheard our conversation and we joined forces to conquer the Grizzly threat. The hike was not very long, about .8 of a mile…. at least the trail we wanted to explore to the Glacier. There are trails that go up to the Harding Icefield and from there you can actually come out into different glacier. Harding Icefield has forty glaciers.


Exit Glacier
            The drizzle had nearly subsided, Helen was talking to Lynne (No way would we see any bears, they would in the next valley). Our walk was easy, taking us first to the Outwash Plain and then to the edge of the glacier. We took pictures and read the information signs along the path. An interesting note was the numbered signs on the roadway and trails on the way up here. The numbers didn’t mean anything until reading the info signs. 1898, 1911 and so on until 2009. Those were year markers of when the glacier had receded past those points. 2009 to today I would say 300 to 400 feet of melting. It reminded me of Portage Glacier again when I came here around 1985. One could see the Glacier from the road and now Portage Glacier Lake stands in the way. No visible Glacier unless you take a tour boat. When’s the next Ice Age coming?

            Lunch in the camper… a short nap, and back down to Seward for gas. We stopped at the Visitor Center for a map and info on our next stop which was Soldotna. A short 90 mile drive and we would be there.

Helen leading the way!
            My first experiences in Alaska happened in the Kenai Peninsula. I had come to Alaska on a free incentive flight from the Air National Guard in Portsmouth, NH. There were other guys from Berlin that were on the flight, but they had connections to a fishing guide and had their plans. Leon Durant and Joe Ottolini gave me all kinds of information on how to get around and places’ to go. The Kenai was on the list. I headed down here and did so fishing and site seeing. Soldotna was a little bump in the road back then. Today, it has a four lane Main Street, three area high schools and tons of businesses. I was able to spot the very first place that I caught my first Salmon.
First to the Ice...
My Left Arm is holding the Camera!

That is what we did and saw

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