Jun 29, 2013

Another Trip to the Matanuska Glacier

When we stayed at the State Park cabin up at the Matanuska Glacier back in April, it was still more winter than spring or summer. So we decided to give it another shot. This time around we enjoyed some of the best June weather that Alaska has ever seen.
 I don't know of any other location in Alaska that has the view that you get off the front deck of the cabin. This time around it was warm enough for us to eat our dinner out on the deck and take in the magnificent view.
And this time we remembered to grab the camera and were able to get some much better photos of the glacier. All of Alaska is beautiful, but for some reason I find glaciers to be particularly fascinating.

It's not just their immense size and composition of densely packed snowfall... But their ability to grind and carve the land scape they cover. Eons after they are gone, the evidence of their passing still lingers.
As the glaciers grind over the land, they pulverize the rocks into a fine powder, which is carried away in the rivers which flow from the glaciers. This silty water is a luminous gray and cold.
But not all rivers come from glaciers. Mountains with a southern exposure do not build glaciers and their snow packs melt off during the spring and summer, producing pristine, clear water. Granite Creek just north of Sutton is an beautiful example of this, flowing down from the Talkeetna Mountains.
We weren't the only ones out enjoying the almost twenty hours of sunlight on the Summer Solstice weekend. I just barely managed to snap a photo of this classic car as it zoomed down the highway past us.
We couldn't let the opportunity to do some geocaching pass us by. Our favorite one of the day involved the most work. We had to scramble a hundred feet up a very steep embankment. The GPS led us to ground zero, but all we could see was more rocks... But all was not as it seemed. We flipped a few over and came up with what we were seeking.
In our search for another cache we came upon this old bridge. It once spanned the Chickaloon River and allowed coal trains to haul their cargo to market. The Sutton & Chickaloon area was originally sourced by the U.S. Navy as a strategic supply of coal before they converted the fleet to diesel.
The metal roof was not an original part of the structure. It was added at some time to slow the decay of the old bridge.... But I think it was added too late. The massive wood beams were showing their age.
And while the old bridge slowly rots away, Castle Mountain stands as it has for untold generations.
We turned back south and headed for home just before entering the pass at Eureka Summit. I love the high alpine areas in Alaska. Broad Pass south of Cantwell is my favorite, but this area is a close second.
The weather was perfect, the views were perfect and we got to do some geocaching. It doesn't get much better than that...

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