Glacier Gazing: Margerie and Grand Pacific

(Last Updated On: July 17, 2020)

We motor along the rocky shore of the Tarr Inlet, passing more gouged and scoured rock that is being colonized by vibrant vegetation.

Between the bright fall foliage along the rock face and the dark bands of mussels clinging to the base at the water line , it is a colorful scene.

Margerie and Grand Pacific glaciers adjoin each other, connecting and separating repeatedly over time. But Margerie is the star, her gleaming blue face with its constantly falling ice stealing all the attention from the dark, brooding Grand Pacific.

As always, I’m mesmerized by the deep blue visible where the ice has become extremely dense and compacted.

It’s otherworldly.

Margerie is an active glacier, continually shedding bits and pieces – and sometimes large chunks. Growls and groans rumble all around us, the sounds of collapsing ice punctuated by the occasional sharp crack as another chunk breaks apart. The eerie sounds fill the bay around us, making it seem as if the ice itself is alive. . . as if we are not really here alone.

I keep trying to guess where the next avalanche of ice will begin, but I’m not very good at it and usually don’t see it until the ice is already making its plunge into the bay.

But by now I have at least learned that an area that keeps shedding small bits may soon release a large calf, so I keep my eye on a prime spot and try to wait patiently.

A good-sized chunk falls. . .

. . . and then another.

Pretty dramatic. But, instead of watching longer to see what else might happen, I start idly enjoying the scenery.

As I’m thinking about how amazing and beautiful this place is, I have the sense that something more is about to happen. . .

It’s feels as if God is putting on a show just for us.

The Great Land — Alaska

glacier meeting the sea with text "Alaska"

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