Like the moon rising over a mountain ridge, the Mendenhall Glacier’s intense white mass grew as Aki and I approached the tip of the Fish Creek Peninsula. It reached its zenith after we rounded the point, where with us now standing in shade, the glacier became our sun.
I wouldn’t have seen the glacial reveal if not for a seal. It drew me to the beach from the trail that runs along along the peninsula’s forest. Thanks to him, I had stood in unexpected sunshine on snow covered beach rocks, watching the seal watch me and the little dog. After it lost interest, the seal corkscrewed across the water surface and slipped beneath it. Rather than return to the trail, I walked along the water’s edge as the glacier appeared to move past the peninsula tip. If we had stayed on the trail, the glacier and its mountain consorts would have jump at us when we rounded the point.
I am glad that the glacier appeared toward the end of the hike. After seeing it, I would not have been able to appreciate the beauty of the wetlands and forests we passed through to view it. After yesterday’s ski through the glacier’s rain drenched moraine, shoveling last night’s snowfall off our Chicken Ridge driveway, the sudden appearance of an ambulance and fire truck at our neighbor’s house, the threat of more rain, it was a joy to emerge from the gray and see sunshine light up trees newly flocked by snow, watch that beauty eclipsed by the rising glacier.