Posts Tagged ‘Johns Hopkins Inlet’

Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 9

January 12th, 2011

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 8.”)

Part Nine: Layover at Reid Inlet, Glacier Bay National Monument


Rocky Promontory, Early Morning, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska, 1971 by Philip Hyde.

Friday, July 2, 1971: We heard the patter of rain all night and it was still raining when we left the tent late, Philip at 8:00 am and David and I at 9:00 am. Philip and I built a fire in the cabin, which heated up fast. We sat at the tiny table by the window for breakfast. Then with all of our rain suits over warm undergarments we started out for Reid Glacier at the upper end of Reid Inlet, following the water’s edge.

The going was very slow and painful to rubber booted feet over loose rocks and through runoff streams. At each crossing, David wanted to step in the deepest water. We went back to our system of ferrying him across to prevent him doing this and getting his feet soaked. The rock weed showed up brilliant orange as the tide receded. Stranded icebergs made good photographic subjects. Philip had his 4X5 view camera, I carried his 35 mm. It took 2 ½ hours to from 11 am to 1:30 pm to reach the high domed point of land near the glacier where we stopped for lunch. We saw a National Geographic Society marker here with a note that Reid Glacier is under study. Diane and Dave Bohne’s names were in the register. Looking toward the mouth of Reid Inlet, we saw a small craft in Glacier Bay nearing the inlet. We guessed it to be a National Park Service patrol boat. They didn’t land or pay any attention to our waving or signals. After just entering Reid Inlet, they headed back out again.

After lunch we walked right up to the glacier face and above it on a snow slope. It rained off and on all day. The cloud ceiling was very low and we never heard a single airplane go over. We turned back for the long walk home. We had to eat dinner inside the cabin tonight, as the rain was too frequent to eat outside. After dinner David went right to bed. I walked around bird watching. I made my way out to the water where I could identify Harlequin ducks. On my way back the gulls swooped on my. It is an intimidating experience. They give a fierce war cry as they dive very close. Suddenly I was being sprayed with a thin water jet from behind. To my surprise it was a gull shooting the water stream at me and hitting a bullseye. While Philip wiped off the water, I spotted the perpetrating female gull on her nest not too far from where I had been. David had talked about this happening to him the first day we were here, but we thought he was making it up. The rain increased again and we retreated to bed. It rained off and on during the night.

Saturday, July 3, 1971: There was no rain in the morning. So we got up earlier. We had breakfast in the cabin and finished by 9 am. It was time for me to write in the travel log. David played nearby and Philip took off with his 4X5 view camera up the side hill of the inlet after the views. Before Philip set off, we all watched the Mariposa steam past Reid Inlet toward Johns Hopkins Inlet. The Mariposa looked unusually large out on the water from water level. Two hours and 40 minutes later we watched it return. By then we had climbed above the side wall above and the ship looked much smaller from there. Philip went on about an hour ahead of David and I, to photograph with his 4X5 view camera up on the first step I described in an earlier log entry. David and I followed after eating some lunch and brought Philip his. We found him up the slope from the first step, surrounded by budding willows. As we climbed a little fledging chick came tumbling down across our path, while the mother Fox Sparrow fluttered nearby. David and I napped and waited for Philip. As we all descended David flushed another Fox Sparrow on her nest of eggs. The weather and visibility were improving. There was no question that Guildersleeve, our pilot, would be able to come for us as planned. We had an early dinner, our last in the cabin, struck the tent and were all ready to leave.

Our pilot showed up right on time. We decided with the cloud ceiling as high as it was that we would take some extra flying time to see more of Glacier Bay. Anticipating to see where this might be, we were delayed by the need to make two trips to bring all our duffel to the plane. Philip made a photograph of David there before we left. We flew over Johns Hopkins Glacier, Lamplugh Glacier and a number of others.

As we arrived back at the lodge dock, the sun began to shine in this area as it had in some others on our flight. At first the sun was faint, but it came on stronger until we had a real sunset with colors and a show that continued for several hours. We made the long haul from the dock to the campground down the beach about ¾ mile. The space for a tent was in the bordering spruce forest on moss. The National Park Service provided a bear proof box hoisted by pulley into the trees. It was not only provided, but apparently needed as we saw fresh bear tracks on the road. There was a kitchen and fireplace in an open space just outside the forest and above the beach.

We raised the tent and put David to bed. We walked to the Inn and visited until 11 pm. I had to shade my eyes from the sunset glare pouring in the windows. Our conversation was with Robert Howe, Park Superintendent and Howard Freiss, the Hotel Manager. We met Jack Calvin with his party of 10 Sierra Club group on two boat trips in the area and to the South to Chichagoff Island, a proposed wilderness area. We went to bed around midnight. We realized we did not bring a flashlight on this part of the trip, but we never missed it.

Birds Seen At Reid Inlet:

Oyster Catcher
Canada Geese
Harlequin duck
White winged Scoter
Semipalmated Plover
Herring Gull – nesting
Herring Tern – young and adults
Golden Crowned Sparrow
Fox Sparrow – with fledgling and another on a nest of four eggs
Snow Bunting
Barn Swallows on nests
Black Guillemot
Yellow Warbler

Book: Wild Flowers of Alaska by Christine Heller

Flowers at Reid Inlet:

Dryas Drummondi
Russet shrub leafing out

Continued in the blog post, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 10.”

Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 8

December 8th, 2010

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 7.”)

Part Eight: Juneau to Glacier Bay National Monument (now National Park) and Reid Inlet

Looking Back At Johns Hopkins Inlet, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska, 1971 by Philip Hyde. This boat ride to Johns Hopkins Inlet will be featured in a future blog post. It comes up a little later on the same Alaska trip.

Thursday, July 1, 1971: Our alarm went off at 5:45 am. We had to get up in time to catch the 7:00 am Alaska Air Lines Twin Otter prop jet at the Juneau Municipal Airport where we had spent the night. We took our duffel and chute bag full of camping gear over at 6:30 am, ate a hurried breakfast and walked on the plane about 2 minutes before 7:00 am. Our prop jet flew nice and low, only about 2,000-3,000 feet up. In just 20 minutes we came in on an old military runway at Gustavus Airport on Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.

The Glacier Bay Lodge van took us into Bartlett Cove where National Park Superintendent Howe greeted us. Philip and the Superintendent talked while David and I walked around. We were waiting for Mr. Guildersleeve, our pilot, to fly us to Reid Inlet out on Glacier Bay. David and I explored the interior of Glacier Bay Lodge, bought a wild edible plant book and took the nature trail through the forest of spruce carpeted with moss to Black Pond and out to the Beach near the dock. The spruce tree and moss carpet is distinctive following a glacier in the area, compared to dwarf muskeg forest in older non-glaciated areas. As we drove across the berm on the road into the lodge we crossed the dividing line between older and new forest. Succulent wild flowers flourished around Glacier Bay Lodge: Black lily, budding paintbrush, others, while at the airport there was a carpet of lupin, paintbrush and shooting star. Both the paintbrush and the shooting star were the same shade of magenta. Wintergreen bloomed on the moss carpet along the nature walk. At the beach Nagoonberry was also in magenta bloom and the wild strawberries were blooming too. David and I waited on the dock where two Park Service inboard motor boats were tied up, then we moved over to the beach.

We finally got away about 10:20 am from Bartlett Cove in a small single engine five passenger Cessna float plane. David was very impressed with having two plane rides in one day. We stayed about 1,000 feet above the water, which gave us a good view as the ceiling was not high enough to reveal all the peaks. We were told that this was good weather for Glacier Bay, especially with little or no wind and fair visibility. We could see miles of beautiful wild Glacier Bay shoreline, untouched forests, pond-dotted muskeg, raw glaciated terrain and a few glaciers. Reid Inlet looked the most desolate of all as we came into it. Very few icebergs in the inlet made it easy for Mr. Guildersleeve, our pilot, to set down on the inlet side. Mr. Guildersleeve paddled the pontoons close to shore and jumped across to dry land ferrying our duffel. We stepped ashore, over 40 miles from civilization in one direction and hundreds of miles in the other directions. We were three tiny dots on the glacial moraine, alone in the wilderness for what would be six days. After the float plane took off and its motor sound receded, an immense solitude settled in, except that we were surrounded by birds and their outcry at our invasion of their home. We landed a long way from the cabin and thus had a hauling job over large cobbled gravel “beach,” or more accurately glacial moraine. Large groups of birds whirled and roosted on the scrub covered headlands and water. A group of baby chicks, perhaps they were Tern young, down covered, waddled, careened, bumbled and baubled their way up the shore from us. We hauled our gear into the tumbled down miner’s cabin and set up our tent for sleeping quarters near a shrubby hummock. As it started to sprinkle, we all crawled into our cozy tent for a nap.

When we woke up we explored our glaciated environment. Reid Inlet is short as Glacier Bay inlets go, with Reid Glacier meeting the water at the upper end. The face of the glacier is perhaps two miles from the cabin at the mouth end where Reid Inlet meets Glacier Bay proper. The amount, size and color of the icebergs in our surroundings varied day to day. Sometimes the icebergs were black when they originated from the top and side margins of the glacier. The bluer and whiter icebergs came from deeper in the glacier. We heard the “groaning” of the glacier ice regularly. The tide left many of the icebergs stranded on the beaches. Everywhere there were marks of old beach lines as the land and water rose and fell in relation to the glaciers of the area. Philip Photographed the landing area in the late afternoon.

Most local flair and animation came from the birds which we saw in great variety, on land and sea, and at quite close range. It was nesting season. Terns and seagulls swooped in alarm over us and Semipalmated plovers put on a diversion act. The flora was in its early spring stage, some leafing beginning as well as some flower buds and a variety of willow catkins.

Debris from the previous mining operation included a big barge which David immediately dubbed his “jet.” He had a great time re-enacting his recent flights. We found a stack of peeled and rotting logs and cut up a few lengths for our fire. We ate a Weiner roast dinner outside between rain showers. After dinner we climbed up the steep bank of the inlet wall to the first shelf depression above. We found fascinating flora up there: ground cover of Yellow Dryad in the rose family, which matted over all the plucked rocks of the glaciated surface and made the going much easier. Philip took many 35 mm photographs of the various willow catkins and twisted, dwarfed trunks and branches near bursting with soon to bud new foliage. In the process, he flushed out a ptarmigan. Earlier I had surprised and flushed one or two grouse from a nest on the scrubby headland, revealing a feather lined nest with at least eight eggs in it that were buff color with no speckles. Beautiful small reflection ponds dotted the natural shelf. Philip said he wanted to return up there with his view camera. We descended about 9:30 pm and put David to bed. We did the same ourselves soon as the rain began again. We were snug and warm in our down bags in our little orange tent. We were glad we brought all of the gear we did. After the first day we knew we would need all our warm clothes and rain gear in this windswept wilderness on Glacier Bay.

Continued in the blog post, “Denali National Park, Alaska Travel Log 9.”