Walking in a blue ice cave was on our bucket list so imagine our excitement at realizing a trip to Alaska would give us that opportunity. Walking ON a glacier was a bonus!
We knew we could walk 7 miles in 7 hours, having done that recently. But a final rocky scramble to approach the Mendenhall Glacier was daunting. We are seniors in our sixty’s and not in super shape. We are walkers and bicyclers, but only on the flat at the beach.
Becky at A&B answered my many e-mail questions and patiently explained requirements and options. Becky was brutally honest about the physical requirements of the hike, asked us to watch the video on their website (which includes the rocky scramble), and definitely did not push us to sign-up for any type of tour.
Based on another Tripadvisor review (thank-you reviewer Charg47), we decided to book a private tour & guide, thinking we would give it our best shot. In the worse case, if we did not make it to the glacier, we would have better views of the glacier than from the Mendenhall Visitors Center… and a nice walk in the woods.
Our guide Cory was wonderful - a Juneau native with a great personality and tons of patience. Cory is a knowledgeable guide, who not only answered 7 hours of questions about animal and human life in Alaska, but also knew the trails to divert us twice around high water covering the original and the secondary trails. ...And Cory got us over that steep rocky hill.
It was worth every step!
The view of the glacier from the top of the hill was amazing. Pictures cannot do it justice. You have to be there to feel the wind, smell the air, hear the power of all the waterfalls, and feel the immensity of the glacier and landscape around you.
Standing under blue ice is amazing! And, with direction from Cory, walking on the glacier was a walk in the park! Much easier than we had imagined. (I chose the picture of us standing atop blue ice on top of the glacier as my Tripadvisor picture. The glacier is so enormous you can barely see us there!)
We filled our water bottle from a stream on top of the glacier and tasted the glacier. We walked on blue ice. We looked down blue crevasses. We were surrounded by icy beauty, formerly alien to us. This is a worthy bucket list item!
Be sure to wear hiking footwear. We wore ankle high hiking shoes but probably should have had hiking boots as recommended by the web site and Becky. You really need the right soles for traction on rocky slopes.
All the other equipment we needed was provided by Above & Beyond and worked flawlessly.
Cory made an experience of a life time, the very best it could be.
We are ever so appreciative of Cory and Becky at Above & Beyond!
Note: As of August 2010, you cannot book Above & Beyond through a cruise tour.
Note2: We had the benefit of possibly the best day of the summer, but I think it would still be an amazing experience on a less perfect day. The weather does not affect your ability to “smell the air, hear the power of all the waterfalls, and feel the immensity of the glacier and landscape around you”.
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