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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Steward Alaska SeaLife Center, Exit Glacier and Portage Glacier Tues. August 2

Our plan was to ride our bikes to the SeaLife Center.  We knew we could because we rode there last night.  Only we woke this morning to rain—real rain, not the drizzle we’ve had in the past.
The Alaska SeaLife Center is a learning center about all aspects of Alaska waters and wildlife that lives and feeds in, on and around it.  Included  are displays about their habitat, life cycles, health and history and plans for the future for sea life.     Birds and sea creatures are visible from the top as well as under the water.
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We attended an informative session about Alaska’s early inhabitants by an Alaska Wildlife and Parks ranger.  Recent archeological findings have placed early Alutiiq people on the Kenai peninsula living by hunting fur bearing animals 1,400 years ago. In 1741 Russian fur traders forced the native people to hunt for them by removing the strongest men from villages.  Within 25 to 30 years after the Russians arrived, 30% died of starvation and soon after another 30% died of small pox.  The native people have persevered and there are settlements throughout the Kenai, one of them the Nimlichik village were we dug for clams.

If the weather would have been clear, we might have been able to spot some of the sea creatures in the ocean from a stand  complete with a viewing scope.  Unfortunately, it was too cloudy.  Still, an very well done and educational venue.

As we leave Seward,  we drive a short distance into  Exit Glacier National Park.  There was excitement in doing that with a short drive through fairly swift water over the road.  Actually, the road was starting to wash out.  I was thankful for our big truck with weight.

The climb to Exit Glacier was wet, but we were able to see the massive ice field up close.  This sign says it all.  Even with the rain, we could feel the life in the massive glacier.

The mile walk to the glacier.
Up close.

On the way back, we walked down in the valley below the glacier.  The run off was too swift otherwise we would have been able to walk to the bottom.

We've seen many glaciers in Alaska and the Columbian Ice Fields in Banff Park, but up close leaves me without words to describe or compare.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting how many of the roads you've been on are marked (closed winters). I read somewhere that a very high percentage of the Alaskan people are pilots. I gather that you'd almost have to be and that Whittier is fairly cut off from the rest of the world in the winter, unless they can keep the sea channel open. Twill be interesting to hear what you find out. Maybe the railroads can get through, otherwise air would be the only access. Going back to the Marine center cite to read more. I'm in love with those little critters. :)) csl