First Day in the Big “A”

I’m posting this brief travel post from my Whittier, Alaska hotel room, overlooking the beautiful Prince William Sound. I flew in to Anchorage last night … actually, arrived a bit after midnight (seemed like the 3:00am time I would have been in back home!). After grabbing my luggage, I picked up my rental car and headed to a local motel in Anchorage for the night.

After a few hours of sleep, I headed down the Seward Highway, toward my first destination … Whittier, Alaska. Along the way, I stopped at “Windy Corner”, a few miles outside of Anchorage, to look for Dall’s Sheep which can frequently be found right at the highway. As luck would have it, none were in sight. So I continued toward Whittier. Along the way, I did make several stops to photograph some “hanging” glaciers, those are high in the mountains (as opposed to the tide water glaciers, those that reach the water). Here are a couple of images from today:

Hanging Glacier

Closeup of a Hanging Glacier

Hanging Glacier
Notice that glacial ice often has a bluish tint to it, the result of glacial ice forming.Glaciers are created when decades upon decades of snow compact themselves into ice. As the ice crystals grow and compact, they push out the air.The ice then absorbs most light and reflects the short-wave-length blue light.But as ice moves along and is exposed to warmer air or warmer water, the crystal structure breaks down and reflects all the light, again appearing white. And the deepest blue coloration of glacial ice is often seen in fractured places: crevasses, towers and where chunks of ice have calved. The color may appear richest on cloudy days, making a typical Alaska day great for glacier viewing!

And on several of my Alaska trips, on small boats, we often stopped and broke off chunks of floating icebergs (recently-calved glacial ice) to use for keeping refrigerated foods cold … glacial ice is much more efficient at cooling, and lasts a lot longer than normal ice. In fact, I have heard of some Alaska town food businesses (that live near glaciers) to actually use glacial ice in their cold drinks!

Another interesting point from this trip is the wonderful weather we are having. So far, it’s been cloudy and periodically we’ve had light rain … something we haven’t seen around home for a long time! Alaska is known for it’s frequent showers that cleanse the air and cause such wonderful green growth of it’s forests. An awesome sight! It’s also starting to feel a bit “Alaskan” … I do’t know what the temperature was today in Whittier, but I see the forecast for the next 10 days is routinely in the upper 30’s/lower 40’s at night and upper 40’s/lower 50’s in the day!

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Posted in 2012, Blog, Landscape Photography, Nature Photography, Travel Photography
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