Exit Glacier, the only part of Kenai Fords Park accessible by road, is a short 10 mile drive from Seward so I had to pay it a visit. It was a rainy day, I was on my own and bear warnings were posted all over the car park so it’s safe to say I was not up for a big hike and was pleased to see the trail to the edge of the glacier was a short 1.3 miles.
Looking toward glaciers is always confusing when you try and get a sense of scale. In the photo below it is about 1 mile away and a very close inspection will reveal people in the distance (center right), which gives a bit of insight into just how large this glacier is.
As I got closer, my walk to the glacier’s edge took me through wooded landscape, fairytale-esque winding paths and over small streams as I ascended the mountain.
Until, finally, I found myself closer to the edge.
The sign above is a marker indicating where the glacier’s edge was 15 years ago, in 1998. The trail shows signs of rebounding from the years spent covered in ice. Lichens and mosses help to crumble rock into new soil so that seeds can gain a foothold and grow in to the small plants seen lining the trail. It’s amazing how life has bounded back in to the earth, and in years to come will cover much more ground.
Not only was the glacier itself beautiful but the surroundings were just as good to look at, from the desolate moraine field to the encircling mountains.
A small waterfall can be seen flowing down the mountain.
I could have went even further, up to the top of the glacier, where I would have been able to see what lay behind, but I ran into several couple who had turned back due to several bears being on the trail. This was the very end of the season for them and they were scavenging for leftover salmon, and I certainly didn’t want to be a last meal for any of them so this was the furthest I went. I was happy with my last hike in Alaska, but extremely sad to be leaving as the south peninsula had many more gems waiting to be uncovered.