Thursday, June 19, 2014

Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska: Carroll Glacier

Glacier Bay National Park is an unusual part of the Parks system. It's a popular tourist destination, even though no one can drive in to see it.

Glacier Bay is located around the top of the panhandle of Alaska, and thus is a target for the cruise ships that go up and down the coast in the warmer months.

Those cruise ships stop to pick up a couple of Park Rangers when they enter the area. They spend the next several hours explain to tourists just what they are seeing. And what they see is spectacular - plenty of snow-covered mountains, deep blue water and the odd bit of wildlife.

As those ships sail up the bay, the first glacier available for viewing is the Carroll Glacier. It's off the starboard side, as they say in the Navy, at the end of the Queen Inlet. The glacier actually had a growth spurt in 1987 when it surged about 90 feet a day for a while. The surge ended the next year, but the glacier has remained relatively stable since then according to the National Park Service.

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