Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 7

November 9th, 2010 by David Leland Hyde Leave a reply »

Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log: June 14-September 14, 1971 by Ardis Hyde

(Ardis, David and Philip Hyde in Their Camper. Continued from the blog post, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 6.”)

Part Seven: Petersburg to Juneau

Mendenhall Glacier, Tongass National Forest, Alaska, 1971 by Philip Hyde.

(See the photograph full screen Click Here.)

Tuesday, June 29, 1971: The Alaska Ferry Matanuska departed Petersburg, Alaska at 1:00 am. We had all slept in our clothes in the camper, then transferred to the ferry sleeping lounge after boarding. It was hard for David to get back to sleep and he woke up about 5:15 am. I showered at 6:00 am and came out just as we passed a glacier and icebergs could be seen floating in the water. We ate breakfast at 7:00 am in the dining room. David ate his favorite cereal, Wheat Hearts. “Even better than your cereal, Mom,” he said. The young boy we met at the Wrangell Petroglyphs, Lance Koenig, (see the blog post, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 4.”) was on the Matanuska going to Juneau, Alaska to see his sister as he said previously. After awhile the amiability between Lance and David wore thin and they were into the hitting tag game.

Heavy overcast turned to rain again. The mountain tops at Juneau were veiled but we could see hints of the precipitous backdrop they provided to the clouds and mist. We were off the ferry and drove into town by 9:45 am. We went first to the ferry office to change our reservation from a two birth cabin to a four birth cabin for the return trip home. We picked up mail at the post office and read it. We ate lunch at the South Aurora Basin where there is also a sanitation station. Took care of that matter after lunch while David napped. Then a haircut for me and gasoline stop. We looked at the Indian Art exhibit on the third floor of the Federal Building, then on to the Alaska State Museum. The Alaska State Museum was displaying a stunning array of beautiful Indian and Eskimo objects on the first floor, which closed at 4:30 pm. I went grocery shopping and we ate dinner. Philip was working on arrangements to go to Glacier Bay. We went back to the Alaska State Museum to see more exhibits on the other floors and attend a wind quartet concert by the group from Westwood, California near home. David was eager and interested at least for the first half. We stayed to hear the second half, letting David wander about the museum. Afterward we drove over the bridge to Douglas Island to the end of the road where there was a parking lot next to a playground.

Wednesday, June 30, 1971: Rain and sun alternating today. In yesterday’s mail, the Kurtzes wrote to tell us they had a dog for us. Pat, Kit and Cornell Kurtz had already named the German Shorthair Pointer dog like their dog Kaiko. They named our dog Pad, short for Philip, Ardis, and David. We didn’t tell David yet of course. Keeping it a surprise for the return.

After breakfast David went out to play on the equipment, especially the swing. When I went over to him and commented on the beauty of the Juneau mountains across the Gastineau Channel, he said, “It’s prettier from the swing.” We drove in to Douglas to call for reservations to go to Glacier Bay tomorrow. Moved on to Glacier Village and the Juneau Airport north of town. I went shopping while Philip and David watched airport activity. Then we followed the road out to Mendenhall Glacier. We looked in at the Visitor’s Center, then after lunch spent the balance of the day after lunch, all around the environs of the glacier. We were often rained on, but the clouds broke up intermittently to let some sun through. It warmed some when the sun came out, but generally cold, around 47 F. degrees. Philip took photographs with the 4X5 view camera under the umbrella and with the 2 1/4 Hasselblad as well. The color of the moss on the mud flats and the blue of the interior glacial ice were the most vivid color features.

When I told David that Mendenhall Glacier was receding, he observed that most of the glaciers we had seen on the ferries were receding and only a few were advancing. He asked if more “of all glaciers” were receding or more advancing. I said more were receding. As usual, he asked why and I explained that scientists didn’t know why yet. All of us enjoyed walking around Mendenhall Lake up close to the face of the ice at the East End. We were thrilled to watch a big chunk break loose and crash into the water. David and I had apple pie up at the coffee shop while Philip photographed. We had roast pork dinner in the camper where we were parked. In the late afternoon we organized gear for the Glacier Bay trip tomorrow…

Continued in the blog post, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 8.”



  1. pj says:

    Being on a trip like that with your parents must have had quite an impact on you. It sounds like you were already starting to ponder the forces of nature.

  2. Hi PJ, thank you for visiting. I was immersed in the forces of nature from before birth. For example, my mom climbed Half-Dome with my dad when she was eight months pregnant. Some people laugh and say, “So that’s what happened to you.” However, my mother being a school teacher, employed the outdoors as a classroom for my learning. She didn’t really have much choice either, because I was so inquisitive, but she loved it and encouraged my questions.

  3. The world does look better from a swing, doesn’t it. 🙂

    The Mendenhall Glacier photograph is gorgeous!


  4. Hi Sharon, thank you. That is something I remember well. My mom and dad seemed to understand the importance of swings in a young boy’s life. They got me around and on them whenever they had a chance. At home my father put a very tight rope at the height of about 25 feet between two giant Ponderosa pines. From that he dropped two ropes down to a large wooden seat. That swing rocked. It took a lot of pumping to get it going because it was so big, but I could get over 20 feet off the ground at the top of either pass. The rope at the top flexed too, which caused you to go even higher. From that swing you were King of the World. It was around for a long time. I wonder whatever happened to that old swing.

  5. Derrick says:

    Said it before and I’ll say it again – I really enjoy these tributes.

  6. Hi Derrick, thank you for reading.

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