I checked the sky at 2:00AM this morning and it was light enough to walk around in the park. The plan for today was to take a jet boat tour up the Matanuska River to the face of its glacier. Unfortunately when we got to the tour office, they had to cancel the boat trip as the water level in the river was too low to navigate. We settled for a 3 hour, 1.9 mile walking tour instead. We had to get outfitted in hard hats and crampons. The crampons are ¾ inch spikes you strap to your boots to give traction on the ice. The tour company, Mica, supplies the gear. It's a good thing as a pair costs as much as the tour for the two of us. Tour guide, Elisa, was excellent and conducts 2 tours per day. She spends the summer in a tent behind the office and winters in New Zealand conducting tours there. Elisa taught us how to climb and descend wearing the crampons. The first part of the face is like a muddy bad lands. It is the area where the melting is almost complete. It is very dirty but you are actually walking on ice. As you proceed the ice has less dirt and is full of crevasses. The melting rivulets create "moulins" in the crevasses which are very dangerous if you should happen to fall into one. Basically you get stuck and gradually slide further down in a narrowing tube until you suffocate. Not a pleasant way to go. All in all it was great exercise, very spectacular to see, and something everyone should do once in their lifetime. Tonight we are in Anchorage, a city just like every other in America, except for the high cost of everything. Tomorrow we head for Seward.
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