Hiking · Travel

Glacier Bay National Park: Lamplugh Glacier

Lamplugh Glacier terminus sits in John Hopkins Inlet of Glacier Bay National Park. While it can be seen from boats, from small vessels to the massive cruise ships, the most amazing way to see it is from a skiff, and to walk on the land on a minus tide. Kirk and I took an Uncruise vacation and this was where we woke up one morning. In the blissful quietness of it all. My goal in life was to never take a cruise, on one of those awful massive cruise ships. But….I was open to taking a small vessel with zero planning on my part. Every day we had choices of adventures to go on. My favorites were taking the skiff to a beach, and walking along the land. We had less than 60 people on the ship, and most everyone was just so friendly. There is also something about being mostly internet free for a week to make the world shrink a little.

The mountains along the water are stunning once the clouds lift. The inlet goes back into more water to explore, which those on skiff tours did.

Looking out at kayakers, who were setting off in the water to explore. It was early morning. But my day was to get my Bog boots on, and rain layers. The morning was raining. I skimp far too often on layers when I hike, but I didn’t here. I didn’t feel like freezing…..

The ship had 4 skiffs on it, each goes off to do something different. There is a rule in this inlet though: only one motor can be running at any time. That means the ship was quiet, running on backup power. And here, it was a quick drop you off and see you later. Someone else was waiting to get their turn here!

The glacier in the clouds. As we approached I was glad I was wearing rain gear…and gloves. It was freezing cold. And dumping rain.

The landing was good though. It was a minus 4 foot tide, and we actually were able to get out with dry feet onto the beach. At low tide the land is walkable all over. It is gravel/rocks covered with thick glacial mud.

The thing I loved is plant life is happening on the edges of the terminus. The first footholds are happening as the ice recedes. Wether or not this stays a tidewater glacier though…it’s one to see now, not to wait to see.

Predator head anyone?

Blue icebergs everywhere.

Layers. I needed every one of them.

Tide pools left behind.

The front of the terminus has a lake that is a mix of saltwater left at low tide, and of freshwater coming out of the glacier.

I felt like a Michelin Man….so many layers.

Aqua blue.

This is how it looks at high tide a few hours later. Only the small part is still above water, and the icebergs float free. This is still a tidewater glacier. Kirk took the hike along the ridge line in the afternoon, which wasn’t exactly a hike, more like a hike with a lot of rolling marbles under your feet. But the views.

As we kicked back that afternoon, and got ready to sail on, the sun came out and it was sublime to watch once again. The ridge walk was on the left of the glacier.


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