Ice Caves Under Mendenhall Glacier, Ctd.

“It’s almost magical,” my Alaska Airlines flight stewardess emphasized when I showed her the shots from my first trip into Mendenhall Glacier’s ice caves. She’s not alone in feeling that way.

Last week, I returned to Juneau on business and squeezed in one more trek out to the glacial caves before my return flight home. And I do mean squeezed–a torrential downpour arrived while I was inside the caves and did not let up on my hike back. I made it to the airport with only 30 minutes to spare, but thankfully Juneau International is one of the smallest US airports I’ve ever been to, making it effortless to get through. The “trail” leading from Western Glacier Trail to the glacier is brutal enough on the knees without having to deal with the rain, so it added a solid and unplanned hour to the return hike. Was it worth it? As I told my wife, I’d break a leg to go out there if that’s what it took. Which, of course, was meant literally. It’s just an unbelievable experience to be inside a massive glacier, with such vibrant blue ice melting all around you. It’s…well…“magical”.

Originally published 12 Sep 2012 at