Soaring High in Juneau, Alaska

We had another early start today, and it was another exciting day for us. We went on a helicopter tour and walked on Mendenhall Glacier! Two of our Best of Alaska guests did this excursion at the same time as us and they said it was the best shore side experience they’ve had. They did the whale watching and Mendenhall excursion afterwards and said that was fantastic, as well.

At 8:30 am, we met the excursion driver just outside our cruise terminal, at the parking lot where you’d go on the Mt. Roberts Tramway. We were whisked off to the helicopter launching pad from there.

Mt Roberts Tramway, Juneau, Alaska

Mt Roberts Tramway is where we met our driver.

After a mini city tour, we were ready to get on the helicopter and see Juneau from up above!

Mendenhall Glacier helicopter tour.’s Mendenhall Glacier helicopter tour.

We did our very first helicopter tour last year in Juneau on a different excursion, visiting a taller glacier with a dog sled camp located there. Walking on Mendenhall was a completely different experience. Last year, the glacier we walked on was blanketed with snow. Today, we walked on ice. Needless to say, it was slippery.

Walking on Mendenhall Glacier

Two of our Best of Alaska cruisetour guests, who also did this excursion. We were standing on 300 ft of ice!

It’s not smooth ice, though, but after a few minutes of slow and careful walking, we still proceeded with caution, but navigated our way on the ice with more confidence. There were crevasses and water running through. Definitely didn’t want to fall into any of those! The blue ice is incredible.

Mendenhall Glacier

Notice the bumpy ice, and see the freshwater glacier running through the middle of this picture.

Do you know why the glacier is blue? Well, glacier is compacted ice and when light hits highly compacted glacier ice, long wavelength colors (red) are absorbed and short wavelength colors (blue) reflect back through the ice.

Mendenhall Glacier moves forward a foot a day, but it’s constantly retreating also. What a cool and educational experience this was. Anyone who has done an excursion like this can’t say enough about it.

Mendenhall Glacier

Mendenhall glacier is the only glacier in Alaska within city limits. Beyond the ice is the city of Juneau.

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About Vanny

Vanny is Cruise Experts Travel’s Social Media Coordinator. She is a passionate world traveler and has been given an exciting opportunity to share experiences, tips and advice on everything cruising and travel in Alaska.
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