05 July 2005

Exit Glacier and Harding Icefield

Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Locate the trailhead.

Today's plans held only dropping off the car at the Homer, which closes up around 5, and getting onto the ferry around 8. The rental said we could actually drop it off after hours when the airport was still accessible if not actually populated. That was far away, but not so far that it would take the whole time after breakfast. We went back to Exit Glacier where the trail actually keeps going up beyond the glacial face until it is high and overlooking the Harding Icefield that is the source of ice for the various glaciers we saw the day before.

Here we are at Exit Glacier again, but this time climbing above it and soon above its source, the ice field that occupies the center of the peninsula. Today is a bit clearer and brighter than yesterday.

glaciers above and below
So the snow comes down everywhere, but it doesn't melt in the high middle and it just builds and builds. After a thousand years (or two or three), the top is so heavy it's just pushing the bottom out everywhere. Here is two levels of glaciers.

The icefield is indeed a field of ice.
As we climb up and up, we start to see the expanse of white just stretching out. Far mountain peaks peeking out the top of it. Just barely. And the edges of the river of outflow churn and churn.

Little peaks peeking out.
And just what is the scale of all this? Maybe the bighorn sheep on their patch of snow can grasp it. That's a lot of water just sitting there frozen.

A bit of weather plays at the edges of the icefield.
Tiny clouds are playing at the edges of what can be seen of this ice field. Or are they so tiny?

The peaks of buried mountains.
A little higher up, it's clear those distant mountains barely have their heads above the snow.

Along the south edge of Exit Glacier.
A look back along the south edge of Exit Glacier.

Some far mountain peaks.
Out there behind the curve of the Earth are some more mountains. Perhaps they mark the end of the ice field.

Closer distant mountains -- left.
A last look around at the closer distant peaks with the clouds playing around them.

Closer distant mountains -- central.
Those were the left (East) ones, these are the central ones.

Closer distant mountains -- right.
And these are the right (West) ones. Time to head on back the way we came.

Looking back out Exit Glacier.
Taking a look out from the ice field area through the space taken by Exit Glacier. Ranges of mountains populate out there too, and down below them is the silt laden valley that once was occupied by the glacier and now just has its runoff.

The silt bed.
A closer look at the silt river bed which doesn't seem to have anything growing in it.

More big horn on the snow.
The big horn are still wandering around. They've found another patch of snow to rest upon. In between, there were wandering up and down grazing on the green things.

©2005,2010 Valerie Norton
Posted 4 March 2010

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