Alaska: June 2018
Breakfast at Snow City Cafe was a mixed bag. No-pretension atmosphere with a superb cinnamon roll, but the deadliest catch benedict (one king crab, one smoked salmon) was a decided miss for me... I suspect I might have liked the traditional eggs benedict more.
Following breakfast was a glacier tour of King George Glacier, Colony Glacier, and Twentymile River. Having never seen anything low and slow from the air before, the difference in perspective was pretty shocking-- and amazing. Lots of texture, appreciation of flows and distances, nevermind the fact that large parts are completely inaccessible except from the air. Downright mindblowing how beautiful it was, especially when you've landed in the middle of a miles-long sheet of ice, next to seemingly impossibly clear blue lakes and rivers of glacier water.
US Army UH-60L Blackhawks also operating on Colony Glacier gave a spectacular flyover as well (!). Wrapped up the flight via Twentymile River, where moose and bald eagle sightings highlighted the return trip. t'was definitely worth it!
Hiking the Harding Icefield Trail in Kenai Fjords National Park was next. It's a very well graded trail through the rainforest up to Marmot Meadows, with a pretty nice view of Exit Glacier. Slogged up into the icefield proper for another 0.8 miles to reach the Top of Cliffs Overlook (2.4 miles from trailhead, 2.8 miles from the visitor center), which is as far as the typical hiker would go without avalanche gear... and while I don't know if the view was that much more spectacular, the fields of ice everywhere did make for a terrific view, nevermind the opportunity to glissade down the mountain!
Exit Glacier Overlook and the outwash plain were the last two stops. The view, again, was unexpectedly unique and beautiful, with an almost head-on view of the toe of Exit Glacier, and how much it has receded in the past 60+ years made very clear to the naked eye. The outwash plain was also worth the quick detour, if only to appreciate the water and the clear blue sky.
Dinner was an unfortunate experience at a tourist trap by the harbor, where they had the gall to sell one king crab leg for $39 (!), yet sold 3lb for $95. If you wanted anything in-between, well, you had to go somewhere else. Ice cream down the road was better than the crab leg tourist trap, but still barely average-- guess you can't expect much from a tourist trap!