*I am writing 10 posts about my 10 favorite hikes, here is more information.
Trail: A trail on Matanuska Glacier
Ranking: number 9
Where: Matanuska Glacier Park, at mile 102 on the Glenn Highway. It’s about 2 hours from Anchorage, Alaska. The drive is gorgeous in spring.
When: April 2009
Cost: There is an entrance fee for the privately owned access to the trail. This allows you to drive up to the trailhead. According to the Internet the fee is currently $20 per person, not per car. Side note: everything is pricey in Alaska
Who: I won’t lie, I am a blogger stalker. In the months leading up to my move, I devoured blogs about moving to and living in Alaska. This resulted in some AWESOME friendships. Anyway, I was with a fellow blogger that day. We didn’t seem to get too far as one or the other was always stopping to take pictures.
I HAD to include this hike in my top ten, as the trail is not like any other trail I have ever done. Hike on a glacier?! I needed to add that to my Alaskan experience.
This hike happened in April, but daylight was already extending to 8 or 8:30. It felt like a summer day, and it seemed unbelievable we were hiking on a school night. I woke up that day to gorgeous weather – probably sunny and in the 30s – and I put something on facebook like “needing to get out today, but where?” I was delighted when fellow blogger suggested Matanuska Glacier, even if it is 2 hours away from Anchorage.
I was giddy from the sights on the way there – lakes still so frozen over trucks could still drive out on them. Open your sliding door, cut a hole in the ice, lure up your fishing pole and BAM! Instant ice fishing hut. Amazing. Then there were rushing creeks and rivers, pushing bright blue ice chunks upwards and onwards. And the tiny valley town of Chickaloon, with its tall pines and their adorable post office the size of my kitchen counter.
And the sky was a high haze, which makes for cool cloud effects. However, on the glacier itself the sky was Carolina blue – I think I have read the glacier makes its own weather, or tends to be sunnier than other places surrounding it. I would love to see the Aurora Borealis from way out there on the Glenn!
The hike was breathtaking. Think weird ice formations against the bluest sky. Think trails that tunnel through layers of ice – black ice, blue ice, clear ice and white. Fellow blogger and I were having a blast laughing at a tour group behind us. We wanted so badly to stay ahead of them, but we also wanted to catch every last dripping icicle or mushroom looking ice formation, and so forth.
The glacier and hike and the company were well worth the $20 dollars. If you are ever in Anchorage, Homer or Wasilla, or if you are ever driving the Glenn highway, I recommend a pit stop at mile marker 102. This was definitely not a strenuous hike, but I am sure with some crampons on your boots you could have all sorts of adventures. I, however, was in it for the photography.