After a twenty minute drive from port, we arrived at our destination: Mendenhall Lake. The day was set at a perfect temperature in the low 60’s (degrees)/ 15.5 celsius. Our tour guide, Jesse, shared some brief history of the surrounding area and facts about the glacier on our drive. The lake freezes over in the winter when both the air temperature and water are below freezing. The frigid weather brings many activities to do such as: ice climbing Nugget Falls, Ice Skating, and Hockey. During the summer, the only mode of transportation allowed are non motorized boats and kayaks. The choppy summer lake offered a site to behold before even heading out – you are able to see floating icebergs throughout the lake and others that have run aground in the shallows. Our Tlingit-style canoe (recreated in similar fashion of the native tribes that once populated the area) was able to carry 8 people, including Jesse, and even more if necessary. Luckily, all in attendance knew each other and were the only ones that booked this activity, making it a lot more intimate and comfortable.
The entire journey would consist of a 4 mile paddle – 2 going out, 2 coming in. With a heavy resisting current and strong gale force winds (just kidding, but it was quite strong and cold) we muscled up and paddled the entire journey – while taking pictures of course! At one point, Jesse asked if we wanted to go only half way (the wind and current were not our friend that day), with a disgruntled “HELL NO” from every adult, we pushed on to our destination: 100 yards away from the glacier face.
It was beautiful. It was gorgeous. It sat there like a monstrous giant.
It looked like a sleeping animal more so, like a Volcano. The surrounding waters were covered in bigger calved off pieces of ice and twice as many smaller ones revealing that this was indeed a living, breathing object – it was Mother Nature in the rawest sense.
After going full force into the falls in the canoe, (getting soaked by the cascading water) we emptied out on to the shores of Nugget Falls! Landon and I took our shirts off to feel the mist off the falls at its base. Something crazy to help us remember this amazing sight. The entire journey took about 4 hours.
Being physically exhausted, you bet the entire crew was hungry. So without fail, our handy tour guide came in clutch with SALMON SPREAD AND REINDEER SAUSAGE! Oh yeah, along with vegetables. It was as good as it sounds. Maybe it just tasted that much better after a long day battling Mother Nature…to see Mother Nature. Either way, I’m glad I can say “I ate Reindeer Sausage ;)”.
On our way back to the docks, Jesse released another awesome insight. He taught us the 5 types of Salmon using our hands:
Pink Salmon (Pinky Finger)
Silver Salmon (Ring Finger)
King Salmon (Middle Finger)
Sockeye Salmon (Index Finger)
Chum Salmon (Thumb Finger)
Contact for booking: 1-800-323-5757
“I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.”
– Martha Washington