~THE TONGASS RAIN FOREST~


and

~THE MENDENHALL GLACIER~


Bus driver: "It's just up that path there." Said to me as I disembarked his bus, and asked how to get to the glacier. "Just up that path" turned into a three mile walk up the road. But the walk was most definitely worth it. All of those photos of the glaciers you have seen so far are nothing compared to what you will see on this page. This glacier is huge! And it's still calving icebergs into the ocean and it still carving it's history into the mountains. As are nearly all other glaciers Mendenhall is receding. And as the global warming continues it will recede further up the mountain. This world of ours is forever changing. That is a natural occurrence. But I'm angered that we, man, have to violate those principles of nature and hasten the process. I'm afraid that the wonderful things I saw on this trek won't be available to my greatgrandchildren. So sad.
Please enjoy these photos.


The Tongass Rain Forest

The largest temperate rain forest in the world exists in Southeast Alaska and British Columbia. The Tongass National Forest contains 14 percent of the world's total acreage of temperate rain forest. Although cooler than tropical rain forests the Tongass is just as wet. Annual rainfall in Southeast Alaska varies from four to 25 feet of rain! I'm supposing that's the reason that I didn't see the sun the two days I was there. Although I was informed that it was sunny and 85 degrees the day BEFORE I arrived. My visit was cold and wet.
The Tongass National Forest covers nearly 17 million acres. It is the largest designated national forest tract in the country covering a narrow tract between Pacific Ocean coastline and some of the tallest mountains in North America (topping out at 18,000 feet).









The Tongass above the city

The Tongass above the clouds

From the Airport

From the docks

This what it was like for two days

A very low ceiling

A look into the forest

"The woods are lovely dark and deep"

~The Mendenhall Glacier~


Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center

Looming high above a lone runner

The runner returns as I approach

The Mendenhall Glacier from above

A closer look at the blue ice

And from the Visitor's Center

The glacier face

And a closeup

A huge glacial boulder dragged down the mountainside by the
ice, it may have taken 200 years

The waterfall that moved. This waterfall used to come out of the
face of the glacier before it receded
Nugget Creek ran under the glacier long ago and formed an ice cave. The water then exited at the glacier's face and spilled over the rocky ridge at Photo Point in a cascading waterfall. The photo below, taken from an information sign, shows what it once looked like. As the glacier retreated the waterfall moved back upstream.

The old waterfall (a photo of a photo USNPS)

The waterfall close up

Glacier etchings in a glacial rock

A mysterious glacial pond

A last look as I left
Ponds like the one pictured are the remains of large chunks of ice left in the glacial silt by receding glaciers. The melted ice drains away and the resulting depressions are filled with rainwater creating these ponds which become habitat for aquatic creatures.
The photo of the glacier taken as I left shows three icebergs, which were recently calved from the Mendenhall.

Music is The Theme from Forrest Gump

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