Rob and Syd's Western Canada and Alaska trip 2012 travel blog

First moose of the day posing for us.

Love moose crossing the road photos (#2)

Bergs around the Glacier face

Syd playing with the ice

Knik Glacier

Second arm of the Knik Glacier basin

The boats we used on the tour

Day 46, Saturday, June 09, 2012

This weekend is the Colony Days Festival in Palmer, paying tribute to the history of Palmer and celebrating a small town vibe. There was a parade this morning and other events throughout the town.

We drove out the Knik River road today. It follows the river, obviously, about 8 miles to the end of the road at the Knik River Lodge. We saw a couple of moose wandering back and forth across the road. The Knik River heads in the Knik Glacier so the water is that wonderful opaque blue gray color from the silt. Glacial rivers are usually wide and meandering across a wide delta area because the silt builds up and the channels frequently change. There were mountains on both sides of the road but when we got down to the river, we could see the glacier at the end.

We stopped at the Knik Glacier Tours to see if we could get on the 2:00 tour. Tom, the owner, said they had a full tour but he would take us out in a second boat. When the tour got there, it was seven people, all related. The parents were from India but the kids and spouses all live in Los Angeles. Very nice people. Everyone we have met has been very curious about our drive from Arizona and ask lots of questions. We took two vans, the family in one and Rob and I in the other. The second driver was named Tom also. He went to Moon Valley High School for a year but said Arizona was too hot for him. We drove a couple miles on a dirt track (calling it a road is a stretch) through the brush and across the creek (through the water) to where they currently have the boats. This particular area is called a rain shadow. It’s like a desert with less than 7 inches of precipitation a year. In the past, every year, the Lower George Lake would built up behind the ice until it put so much pressure on the ice that it broke, sending millions of gallons of water through the valley. It hasn’t happened now since 1967 due to global warming. When we got to the river, the family got on the jet boat and Rob and I got the air boat to ourselves. The boat is really loud, we had to wear ear protectors. We got right up to the glacier which is 6 miles across. It has also been receding and has formed a lake in front of it. The lake is full of ice bergs. Absolutely beautiful, with ice everywhere. There was another glacier off to the right but I can’t remember the name. We pulled in to shore and walked along the edge of the water and the ice bergs. Ice bergs in sea water crackle like Rice Krispies in milk, but these don’t. We could hear a little popping and dripping but didn’t see any chunks calve off the face. We drank some hot chocolate and headed back. Back in the van, we saw 3 hunters flagging us down. They were young guys, loaded with weapons, out hunting black bear. They were tired and looking for a ride. We took them a little way but told them if we saw a bear we weren’t letting them out to shoot it.

Tom, the owner, has his house right there where the tour starts. He owns 25 acres and it backs up to 10 million acres of state land where no one can build or develop. He has a 360 degree view of mountains, valleys, and forests. Moose, bears, and wolves walk through his yard. It was awesome. We had a good day.

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