Sneaking in a Ride to the Glacier

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Waking before 6 this morning, then finding sunlight touching everything outside our kitchen window, I have no choice but to ride my old touring bicycle out to the glacier. Still snuggled in sleep, Aki won’t miss me for a couple of hours.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEven without a breath of wind it’s cold at first so I am glad to have on full gloves and a suit of rain gear.  Beauty but not peace is easy to find at this hour. The lines of cars computing into Downtown Juneau break the peace but the road they use looks stunning paired with its reflection in one of the Twin Lakes. Pressing on after pressing the camera shutter trigger I continue against the traffic flow; passing the dump, gravel yard, prison, Walmart, views of hanging glaciers and wetlands. In 30 minute  I’m in the flat valley left by a retreating glacier. Juneau’s bedroom neighborhood—-side-walked streets and cul du sacs. Ten minutes later the glacier appears in person and in reflection in a beaver pond.

Usually the a favored target of our industrial tourism, the glacier parking lot is empty of the big buses that carry over a million cruise ship tourists from the downtown docks to one of the prettiest places someone from Tulsa may see in years. I don’t begrudge him and his large cohort the view but am pleased to have the place to myself this morning.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADismounting I walk through the empty amusement-park-style walkways to Picture Point and spy on the terns. A small number have returned even though ravens and a mid-summer flood wiped out their nests last year.  Most rest on sand being warmed by strengthening sun.  One begins to feed, flying to moderate height then hovering, hummingbird like before diving almost straight down. The point and shoot camera I use on bike rides can only capture the ghost of this drama so I take a few snaps then just watch—the hovering bird not even tired after its long migration, a shrinking glacier strongly white and blue in the intense morning light, whimsical shaped ice bergs that I’d love to be circumnavigating with our canoe.

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