We cruised in to Skagway this morning, our last Alaskan port, and headed off to meet our excursion group. Reese and I booked a helicopter glacier tour, which would be both of our first times in helicopters and on a glacier. We got shuttled over to Temsco‘s airfield, went through the safety briefing, and put on our life vests and glacier boots before heading outside to wait for the helicopters. They got us loaded up pretty quickly and then we were off. We flew down the coast before heading in to the mountains, getting treated to some amazing views of snowy peaks, glacial lakes, and finally, our destination: the Meade glacier.
We landed, got out of the helicopter, and went over to the staging area to meet our guides. The first thing we noticed was how cold it was on the ice, the second thing was that we forgot to pack gloves. Our guides gave us a short orientation before taking us out to hike around for a while. We got to see a number of moulins, listening to the meltwater roar through them, and seeing that amazing glacier blue in person. We also got to see some of the small rocks that we could see from the helicopter as we came in. They’re not so small in person, but there’s just no way to get the scale of a mile wide river of ice without actually being on it. We also got to taste some of the meltwater, which was delicious! Sadly, we had to head back to the base camp to catch a helicopter back to the airfield.
The pilot took us back via a slightly different course, giving us a chance to see some mountain goats, a couple more smaller glaciers, and more mountains. We arrived back at the airfield and headed inside to get out of our gear and do a little souvenir shopping before going in to town to meet up with the girls.
We got shuttled in to Skagway and got dropped off right next to one of the National Parks Service buildings, which was helpful since we needed to get stamps for it. After that, we walked over to where the girls were, did a little shopping, and then went over to the Skagway Brewing Company for some lunch and brews. I ordered a tasting flight to get a feel for their brews, and while all of the beers were pretty good, the Spruce Tip Blonde really stood out. It was so good that I ordered a pint to enjoy with my burger.
After lunch we walked around and did a little more shopping before heading back to the ship. Just before getting to the gangway, we realized that we’d misplaced the bag with our helicopter souvenirs. After a quick dash back along our route we realized that it was gone, so we quickly made our way back to the airfield and picked some more up before heading back to the ship. We got back with plenty of time to spare thanks to the most excellent staff at Temsco who shuttled us back instead of us having to walk. That capped off our last day in Alaska, and the most northern part of the cruise. Tomorrow is a sea day, and then we’re going to be in Victoria, BC.