I will admit that I have sailed threw Glacier Bay National Park numerous time making it the most visited National Park that I’ve set foot or I really should say sailed threw. I’m always impressed to learn about the geology of the place in particular with the glaciers advancing & retreating. I studied them back in my Introduction to Geology class at the University of Maine. It was about until 10,000 years ago, continental-scale ice sheets came & went many times for several million years. During this Great Ice Age these sheets would reach as far south as the upper Midwest of the United States. Glacier Bay is the product of the Little Ice Age, a geologically recent glacial advances in the northern regions. By 1750 the Little Ice Age reached its maximum extent. Most of what you see in Southeast Alaska has been carved by glaciers & are the deepest fjords in North America. This landscape is pretty amazing not only to geologist, but to any visitor. Some glaciers are retreating here while others are advancing, but down in the “Lower 48” glaciers are known to be a thing of the past. Glacier Bay is probably the best place in Southeast Alaska where you can witness the geological process & change that has been barely noticed in the span of a lifetime.
|Guest Enjoying the Glacier|
Today the Huna people can be found in the largest village, Hoonah, located on the southern shore of Icy Strait. I’ve visited the village a couple of times during my first summer in Alaska where I did a ferry run for Allen Marine Tours. I had the opportunity to go on one of the word’s largest zip lines, which is the big attraction for visitors these days. From time beyond memory at least four clans ancestral to the Hunan people lived in & occupied Glacier Bay. The natural history of Glacier Bay is retained in the oral history of these clans that describe villages & campsites destroyed by encroaching glaciers & the migration of clans out & back into the bay as the ice advances & retreats. The stories & songs about the region are at.oow & can only be told or sung by clan members or by their consent. The four original clans of Glacier Bay are the following: The Eagle Clans were broken up into Kaagwaantaan, Wolf Crest, Wooshkeetaan or Shark Crest & Chookaaneidi or Bear Crest; the Raven Clan was T’akdeintaan or Whale or Kittiwake Crest. Glacier Bay has both English & native names for the same places. This land is rich in history & now there’s a cultural interpreter that sails along with the park ranger to provide both naturalizing of the voyage threw this grate land.
|Sunset in Bartlet Cove|