Note: This is Part 3 of the AnchoRAGIN’ series. For Part 1, click here.
After stopping by the reindeer farm, we continued another hour northeast to Matanuska Glacier, which is apparently Alaska Magazine’s #2 choice on its list of “49 places to go in the 49th state”. Rona heard that you could just drive up to the glacier and start walking on it, so that intrigued us enough to make us want to take this journey. We had originally planned on booking a climbing trip with a guide, but they basically told us over the phone that the tour we wanted was geared more towards grandmas and little kids and that the six-hour trip would be better for us. Well, we didn’t really have the time to spend six hours hiking since the day was already jam-packed, so we decided to just make the trek on our own.
The road to the glacier is unpaved, so I was a little worried about our rental car making it through alright, but it did. Before heading to the actual parking lot for the glacier, you have to stop to pay the $20 admission fee and sign waivers acknowledging that you are basically walking on ice and could get hurt. After all that was done, our car was let in through the gate and we drove a little bit more until we were in the lot and could actually see where we would be heading.
How does a person get to the glacier? Well, there is a trail that is marked by cones. Spot the cone and it should help you get where you need to be. Eventually, you hit a point where there is a sign telling you that the trail has ended and you must proceed at your own risk. We decided to proceed at our own risk. We didn’t even realize that we were already walking on the glacier until a lady we passed mentioned it to us. Sure enough, once we looked to the ground, we found that we were standing on ice. It was really cool, but we wanted to move on closer. There were other people who had the same idea as us.
The closer we got, the more we were surrounded by giant blocks of ice. Evelyn saw some people further ahead and wanted to go to where they were. There was a river of water separating where we were from where we wanted to be, and it was a little difficult to cross, so Rona stayed behind and Evelyn and I went to see what was on the other side. What we found was pretty spectacular.
Pictures really don’t do this place justice. I think you can’t fully grasp how big the glacier is or how incredible it looks unless you are actually there. We made it a point to try and get Rona to cross that river and see the view too. I mean, when’s the next time we’d have an opportunity like this? Someone already helped a bit by positioning a rock to act as a stepping stone and with a little coaching, Rona crossed and more pictures ensued.
Going back was kind of hilarious. We tried to find an alternative path so we wouldn’t have to cross the river at the same point again and Evelyn felt like she found the perfect spot. Rona was still apprehensive, so Evelyn found a rock and put it in the water to help Rona cross. Unfortunately, that made things worse as the rock kind of just sank and made the river flow harder. Eventually, we wound up just taking the same path we crossed over after we saw an elderly woman cross (with some help) in just a few seconds.
Once we made it back to the car, we were starving and found a restaurant at the Long Rifle Lodge nearby. It had a great view and it’s crazy to think that hidden among all those trees is a massive valley glacier. As part of our meal, we ordered some pies and had rhubarb pie for the first time. We also had blueberry pie (a la mode, of course) and that was very delicious.
The restaurant had a bunch of taxidermied animals so we took some pictures with those creatures as well.
It was getting late, so we headed back to the hotel to get some rest. The next day would require a lot of energy, so we had to get a good night’s sleep beforehand. We used up a lot of our leg muscles walking on that glacier, but now we were going to be using our arms. What would we be doing, you may be wondering? Check out the next post to find out!
Check out other posts in the AnchoRAGIN’ series:
– AnchoRAGIN’ (Part 1): Adventures in Downtown Anchorage
– AnchoRAGIN’ (Part 2): Reindeer Are Better Than People
– AnchoRAGIN’ (Part 3): What’s the Address for the Glacier?
– AnchoRAGIN’ (Part 4): Glacier Kayaking
– AnchoRAGIN’ (Part 5): A Wild Moose Chase