Alaska Adventures: A helicopter ride and glacier walking in Juneau

When we were little, my sister and I must have watched Willy Wonka (on VHS, taped from the television, by the way) at least 7,000 times. And each of those times, I dreamt not only of what it would be like to have a freaking chocolate river at my house (SO COOL), but of flying in the Wonkavator. Can you imagine? An elevator that goes sideways and slantways and anyways! Well, guess what… riding in a helicopter is just like that as I found out when visiting glaciers in Juneau. Talk about the coolest birthday present ever!

Prior to visiting Alaska, I refused to ride in a helicopter. It *might* have had something to do with Mr. T showing me videos of helicopters falling apart with alarming frequency over the last couple years.
But, as T’s only Alaska request included flying to a glacier, I sucked it up and agreed to ride in a helicopter.
And you know what? It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. Ever.
We took the “pilot’s choice” tour where our pilot/guide picked two local glaciers to fly to and land.
We went to Herbert Glacier first and walked around. WALKED AROUND on a glacier.
Our only instructions were to avoid falling in a crevasse and to not walk on powdered snow which might be hiding a crevasse.
I can’t tell you how awe-inspiring it felt to traipse around on the glaciers.
Glaciers over Juneau.
Helicoptering scared me less than I expected.
Our helicopter-shaped sardine can… we were smashed in such that I could barely move my arms to take pictures.
I loved flying so close to the landscape.
If I could paint… I’d paint this.
Incredible ice falls.
We buzzed around the Juneau Ice Fields, too.
Seemed like I could reach out and touch the mountains, we were so close.
Wow.
We spent 15-ish minutes on each glacier.
Given the 75-degree temperatures, walking around the glacier didn’t even give me a chill.
Our guide told us that the glaciers release 300,000 gallons of water per minute every day.
We wore glacier boots over our shoes and life jackets around our waists.
I may have skipped and done a little glacier dance.
The 70-something lady with her cane really impressed me. Her grumpy daughter? Not so much.
We sipped glacier water.
Tastes just like regular water, by the way. Only really freaking cold.
I expected to sink into what looked like snow, but this snow-cone-like surface barely gave weigh under our feet.
Unless we jumped and scampered, of course.
May have sneaked some glacier rocks home!
His glacial cuteness.
Hanging out on the Herbert Glacier.
Mr. T bashing around on the “toe” of the glacier.
Juneau in the distance.
Too cool.
Goobers on a glacier.
I saw lots of rocks at the Herbert Glacier.
And frozen leaves.
My favorite picture ever.
I’ll have you know that I took several hundred photos.
Which is a miracle, because I realized the day prior to our helicopter adventure that I FORGOT MY CAMERA CHARGER at home. Who does that???
Well me, apparently. Only the last time I did it, we were able to walk to B&H and buy a new one. Thankfully, the cruise ship’s photographers shoot Nikon like all the cool kids, and they were able to charge my batteries for me.
And despite how it seems, I’m not showing you all 700 glacier photos. I swear.
From Herbert Glacier, we flew over the Juneau Ice Fields, and then to the Mendenhall Glacier.
I don’t ski or snowboard, but I imagine speeding down a glacier would be rad (before you crashed and died)!
We flew through two peaks that seemed SO close together!
Spectacularly beautiful texture and color.
Flying in the helicopter wasn’t nearly as bumpy and loud as I expected.
The strangest part was when we went sideways, up-up-and-away! Like a Wonkavator!
Mendenhall Glacier’s huge crevasses.
Part of me wanted to hop around here… the gaps look a ton smaller than in real life.
Our pilot buzzed around looking for a place to land. The first spot didn’t seem flat enough, so he just popped up to find another one. Cool!

 

 

While we tripped around the top of Mendenhall, our friends were exploring inside the caverns below.
Bright sunny day at Mendenhall Glacier.
Where we had 3G service.
On a Glacier!
I won’t lie… we Facebooked pictures from the top of a glacier. Bizarre!
Aww.
The brown color comes from silt.
T seemed intent on walking close to the edges which did not help my nerves!
He kept throwing in rocks trying to see how deep the caverns ran.
We could hear the running water even from the top.
After 15-ish minutes, we headed back to Juneau.
So lush and green!
We saw eagles everywhere.
Love me an aircraft shadow.
On the tarmac. I don’t know why. 
After the coolest birthday adventure EVER, we popped into Juneau for an hour or so.
Alaska’s capitol is home to 30,000 people.
Legend has it Wyatt Earp lost his gun in a poker game here. It hangs over the bar.
As always, I loved the funky architecture.
On the longest day of the year, the sun shines in Juneau for 18 hours and 18 minutes.
We went in search of a waterproof camera for the next year’s kayak adventure.
Due to time constraints, we could only explore Juneau for 45 minutes or so.
Getting back to the ship on time is serious business.
We made it with only a few minutes to spare!
My glacier rocks!
In the afternoon, we set sail for Ketchikan.

Up next: Kayaking (and not drowning) in Ketchikan.

xoxo,
shawna

 

Alaska Adventures:
– Hello from Alaska! 
– Bumming around Moose Pass and Cooper Landing 
– Trail riding in Seward 
– Trouble takes a party bus Whittier
– Scenic cruising and the Hubbard Glacier 
– Incredible Glacier Bay National Park (plus, whales!)
– Skagway, the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway, and bears, oh my!

 

 

 

 

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