Big Alaska Adventure
July 2005
Don Peck

Hello All;

Just returned from the adventure of my life!

Lorraine and I went to Alaska, took the whole family, to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary (it was really a few months ago).

At Ketchican we flew in a float plane over the Misty Fjords National Monument. Saw the results of alpine glaciation in all its glory . . .with wispy fog on the water and clouds above. Landed on a lake to enjoy the solitude.

At Juneau we took a helicopter up onto the glaciers. We landed on one that was about three miles wide and thirty long; flowing out of a 100 square mile ice field. Explored for about a half hour. It is the first time I have seen blue ice (it is really a bright blue). That afternoon we took a jet catamaran into Tracey Arm (a National Wilderness). Fjords, U-shaped hanging valleys, waterfalls, cirques, cols, aretes, everything. We ran right up to the face of a glacier that was about a half mile wide, 200 ft tall plus another 200 ft under water. More blue ice. We got fairly close to another. Lots of ice bergs in the water: most of them small but a few up to 50' or so.

At Skagway we rode the train to White Horse Pass . . .the route of the '89 gold rush prospectors. They had to transport a ton of food and equipment each over the pass. Of 100,000 only 30,000 made it. After their horses died, they ate them and carried their goods in 5 mile climbs. The estimate is that the average prospector, walked 1000 miles to go about 70 miles.

At Wrangell I did some silver picking. The boy scouts own a ledge of gemmy almandite garnets in schist. They collect and sell them to support their troop and to earn money for college educations. I bought a nice six inch matrix specimen with three good xls in it, plus a couple of loose ones. Also, bought a small bottle of gold flakes in water. Would like to have done some panning, but ran out of time.

Mike you would have loved it. It is a geologist's paradise. If any of you contemplate going, contact me by email.