Fall Trip Back to Glacier Bay

We enjoyed our brief stay back in Petersburg, but we really wanted to go cruising one more time before the weather changes for the fall and winter.  Glacier Bay National Park remains our favorite place in SE Alaska so that’s where we decided to go, but not before we took care of a few maintenance items.  The last time we pulled the anchor, the salt water washdown wasn’t working very well, and it’s important to keep the chain clean when it goes back into the locker so the bilge doesn’t develop an odor.  Jim crawled into the forward bilge and discovered that the old pump was badly corroded… fortunately we had a spare.20140909 3514 corroded salt water washdown pump rIt takes a few days to get up to Glacier Bay, so we stopped in a new anchorage the first night and we liked it enough that we stayed an extra day just to kayak around and explore the protected cove.20140912 3012 chapin bay eagle 2 rOur next stop was back to Baranof Warm Springs, with the geothermal hot spring piped into a little bath house with a great view of the waterfall.  There’s a free state dock we can tie to, and what’s not to like about a relaxing soak with a view??20140913 2870 baranof hot springs tub view rHeading up to Glacier Bay we got a beautiful view of the Fairweather mountain range that sits along the coast of the Gulf of Alaska.20140916 3060 icy strait fairweather range rWe didn’t expect to see whales since they migrate to Hawaii for the winter, but we got a happy surprise and saw several of them along the way.  Talking with the rangers at Glacier Bay National Park we learned that there are a number of younger males that  to stay up in Alaska for the winter.

We had Glacier Bay almost entirely to ourselves in mid-September, and it was very quiet.  We met with the volunteer coordinator about volunteering in the Park next summer, and we got to talk with more of the rangers and one of the Park’s law enforcement officers – such interesting people with endless stories to tell!  Caring for a Park that’s the size of Connecticut is no simple matter.20140923 3166 gbnp snow capped mtns 1 rWe headed up into the Park and settled into a good anchorage to ride out some ugly storm fronts that were on the way.  We saw some extremely low low-pressure systems – 980 millibars looked strange on the barometer – that’s a hurricane-caliber low.  Apparently these fall weather fronts coming off the Gulf of Alaska are normally very low.  We found a comfortable spot to sit through the first front, capped by a double rainbow, and we explored the farther reaches of Muir Inlet when the weather settled down.20140919 3333 gbnp n sandy perfect rainbow double r20140923 3433 gbnp jim bow hopkins inlet rWe returned to the protected anchorage to hide from another front, and then explored up the western arm of the bay.  We were looking forward to getting close to the Johns Hopkins glacier, but the brash ice was very thick and we couldn’t find a safe path.20140923 3493 gbnp brash ice rHeading back down the bay, we stopped at a cliff called “gloomy knob” and we spotted some mountain goats along the rocks.  We were able to get close to the cliff and had a great view of the surefooted goats picking their way up and down the steep rock face.20140923 3250 gbnp mtn goat descending rStay tuned for more adventures from our fall trip to Glacier Bay…

3 thoughts on “Fall Trip Back to Glacier Bay

  1. Baranoff must have been nice without all the fishing boats there! Looks like you’re in the section with new docks in Petersburg. Great pics as always!

  2. Your breath-taking photos and adventurous spirits continue to amaze and inspire us! Thank you for the time and effort you put into documenting and posting your activities. We hope to see you up there next summer! Sounds like your winter up there won’t be any worse than if you’d stayed in Seattle instead, except for longer hours of darkness.

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