Postcard from Alaska – Mendenhall Glacier

A massive river of ice flowing down from the high ice fields above the city. When visiting Juneau go visit the glacier, only a few minutes drive from the airport and worth the visit. if you have the time and can make the arrangements take an air tour of the ice field. An fantastic flight, cross the ridge above the city and you are over the Juneau Ice Field, an enormous expanse of ice punctuated by spires of rock. From below there are only hints of the ice, from the air it becomes an unworldly experience.

Mendenhall Glacier
Mendenhall Glacier flowing into the lake of the same name, Juneau, Alaska

Postcard from Alaska – Black Bear

A young black bear, well known to the staff of the Mendenhall Glacier visitor center, is attempting to catch salmon in Steep Creek, just below the visitor center parking lot. He was not too good at it, lots of splashing and no fish to show for the effort. The fish were there, bright red sockeye salmon busy spawning in the stream bed. This was this bear’s first year on his own, still learning the skills of survival.

Yes, I was really this close to the bear, this was a shot with a standard lens, no telephoto. Fortunately there was a small bridge over the creek to provide a slightly safer vantage point. The bear showed no interest in the gathering crowd of sightseers on the bridge, concentrating on the salmon.

Black Bear
A young Black Bear (Ursus americanus) trying his luck at fishing in Steep Creek, near Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska, 31 July 2006