|Juneau, Alaska - helicopter view.|
We chose ERA Helicopters, who give a fantastic narrated tour. I'll tell you up front, I was nervous about going up in a "bubble" over mountain peaks with weather that was iffy... at least it looked somewhat rainy/cloudy where we were headed. But, our pilot quickly eased our fears, and we relaxed as we took off for Taku Glacier. The views were heavenly! The ease with which our pilot, AKA Jack Bower, flew the copter was impressive and was not like flying in a small plane: they maneuver easily through clouds, rain, and they land so gently! I decided that if I were to get a pilot's license, it would be for helicopters.
|Over the peaks to Taku Glacier|
|Taku in sight!|
|We are on the glacier's snout!|
It is interesting to note that Taku Glacier has a small calving, a normal geological process of breaking ice sheets and a documented rate of advancement since 1988 at 17 meters a year. Taku covers
|Following the Taku through the mountains.|
|A highway of sheering ice!|
|In awe of the view!|
|Sad that it was over so soon.|
I was overjoyed by this adventure and would highly recommend it to all!
ERA Flights do provide shoe covers for traction, but if you have hiking boots or Sorel boots like mine, you will be fine without them. I stayed warm on the glacier with a parka, hat, and gloves. In town, I did not wear the hat or gloves because the temps were never colder than 55 degrees. We all enjoyed the climate even when it drizzled.
After being dropped off in town, we headed to Hanger on the Wharf to eat. Wild Salmon was the deal for me while others ordered locally caught Halibut. Strolling back to our ship, we met other cruisers who had a great time touring Mendenhall Glacier or who went on the whale watching tours. Juneau is a great place to observe Eagles and marine life from its timbered slopes to its rocky shores. In fact, mid-May through mid-September is their peak season of tourism, the return of the humpback, gray, and orca whales, when bears come out of hibernation, and salmon spawn.
This year, June 2010, we missed the salmon who were late, did not see bear, and missed the pod of whales as we came in to Juneau because we were on the wrong side of the ship while dining! Go figure. We did not, however, miss the beauty of the mountains, icebergs, glaciers, sea lions, otters, eagles, jelly fish, or even the hummingbirds. (I can't attract hummingbirds at home in my Florida garden, but they came to visit us on our deck at the back of the ship in Alaska! Double go figure!)