Seward and the Exit Glacier (Corinne)

We were lucky. The drive from Anchorage was sunny so we saw
the scenery at its best. It was beautiful. I had a good idea of what we would
end up doing at Seward. It was expensive though and we were tossing up whether
we should do it after spending more unexpected money on car and bike
maintenance in Anchorage. Should we really be spending more money on doing
this? Hmm…

After a few days of mulling it over we decided to treat
ourselves. We were here in Alaska “NOW” and this might be the one and only time
we could do it. What had keyed our excitement was a day out on a boat exploring
the Kenai National Park and seeing up close and personal a 10,000+ year old
Tidewater Glacier. A Glacier which had bits the size of cars cracking off and
tumbling into the sea! The pictures in the brochures told it all!

 

Arriving in Seward and drying all our camping gear in the
sun, we were intrigued to see gorgeous pet looking rabbits hopping around
everywhere? Sure enough someone had let two pet rabbits go in the 70’s – LOL!
Now they were everywhere and fairly tame! The kids loved chasing them around.

This was a great camp and the cheapest yet. It was just $10
for a tent a night and right on the edge of the water. The views were
stupendous!

We’d stopped by the Visitor Centre on the way in, and I had
been particularly shocked by the sheer size of the brown Kodiak bear they had
stuffed in the foyer. The elderly lady didn’t help matters when she said no
that was normal size. Crikey! I didn’t want to run into any. They are the same
size as Polar Bears!

We took a day to go and see the Exit Glacier. You could
drive there by car and walk up to a good view point of it. It was a lot of fun
and incredibly shocking seeing how fast it had shrunk and was shrinking! A
woman with two children remarked she had seen it 25 years earlier and couldn’t
believe how much had gone.

Speaking to a kind elderly Ranger volunteer who comes up
from Florida every year for six months, he took the three children under his
wing as we spoke to him about our trip. When I told him about us leaving
everything behind and even David resigning from his job, he remarked that

“We were teaching the children not to be afraid of taking
risks!”

I liked that, and immediately
replied with

“We thought it was a risk worth taking!”

So many people are literally shocked at what we are doing
when we tell them! It is obviously very uncommon for a family to be travelling.
In fact someone mentioned we were like the Travelling Eliza Thornbury Family!
Funny!

I know it may seem strange to some, but for us it was an
idea that just felt exciting! We had a good life, a great house and we could
have stayed living like that until retirement age. But that is not us. We love
travelling and the thought of the children getting something out of this too
felt like the right thing to do.  I know they will use this experience ahead in some way.

It is simply what they came to do.

Before he left us the Ranger remarked that we could walk the
other path and get up close to the Glacier to touch it. It would mean crossing
a few rivers on the way but it was easier now than a week ago, as the main
river had apparently changed its course. I took that as a sign we were meant to
go. It sounded like it was unusual to be able to get so close.

I asked the kids if they were keen. They were pretty
unenthusiastic, but I said “Let’s do it” I looked at the Ranger and we both
laughed remarking at the youth of today! I bet it was a whole different way of
life when he was a young man!

Of course it ended up being the highlight of the day with
the kids laughing at Mum walking through the FREEZING water, as the kids and
David used the stepping stones. I didn’t feel comfortable risking falling with
the good camera on wobbling stones! On the way back I walked barefoot on the
stones which felt much better. Like how I used to do it in another time. I felt
like an Indian!

Getting up close to it was something else indeed. We’d been
warned not to get under the toe as it was dangerous and it was easy to see why!
Breaking off bits of ice we happily sucked on ancient ice water while walking
back.

The flies were wearisome, they bit! While I filled out a
survey the three children did another Junior Ranger Booklet each and just
before the office closed were indicted as Junior Park Rangers in front of other
amused tourists! It is quite a serious oath, swearing to protect the Earth and
its wildlife!

We left there feeling tired but delighted. It was great to
be up close to our first Alaskan Glacier!

 

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