Postcard from Alaska – Over the Ice

Over the Ice
The Juneau Ice Fields from a float plane air tour
Touring around a sunny Juneau you might not suspect that something completely different lies above the city. But here and there you can see hints. Atop the ridge that lies behind the city you can see ice, suggesting that what lies beyond Juneau is something a little more wild. Look above the Costco and there is a little glacier atop the ridge. Just a bit further north and you will find the Mendenhall Glacier, the terminus of a river of ice a mile wide with a photogenic lake at the face.

Take a plane or helicopter above the high ridge that rises above the city and you find ice, thousands of cubic kilometers of ice. The Juneau Ice Field is 140km (86miles) north to south and stretches almost 90km (55miles) into Canada. In places it is over 1400m (4600ft) thick, a sheet of ice that remains from a time when the world was colder.

When visiting Juneau it is worth the time to see this place. An air tour from town climbs over the ridge an into another world. Once over the ice the scenery is dramatically stark, ice everywhere, with bare rock and rugged mountain peaks punctuating the white. You would think you are over Antarctica, indeed the Juneau Ice Field has stood in for the south pole in a few movies.

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on the island of Hawaiʻi.

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