Glaciers of Chilkat Inlet. June 24, 2015.
29 June 2015 | posted at Auke Bay
Photo: Rainbow Glacier and its waterfall.
"Wow! Look at that waterfall below a glacier!" exclaimed Steve as he scanned the mountains above the Chilkat Peninsula with binoculars. A quick look at the chart told us the glacier was the Rainbow Glacier in Chilkat Inlet, one inlet to the west of Chilkoot Inlet, where we were.
We were on our way back to the Lynn Canal and Juneau after visits to Skagway and Haines when we saw the glacier. We hadn't planned on visiting Chilkat Inlet, but the weather was good and the opportunity to see such an amazing glacier even closer was too good to miss. It was only five miles out of our way.
We rounded Seduction Point at the southern end of the Chilkat Peninsula and headed north. To the west, another Glacier, Davidson Glacier, started coming into view. Its most striking feature was a large forested outwash plain at its foot and the steep mountains on either side. On the beach of the outwash plain, several tour boats unloaded passengers onto the beach where they boarded buses for a ride to the glacier.
I looked ahead, searching for the Rainbow Glacier, but saw only more mountains. Where was it?
But as we moved farther north, a valley opened up and Rainbow Glacier appeared. Soon we could see it, hanging above a cliff, as if poised to pour over it. Below the glacier a large waterfall streamed off the glacier onto a rock below.
As we motored back past Davidson Glacier, the tour passengers who had been boarding buses when we went past less than an hour before were loading back onto the tour boats. How could they really experience it, we wondered, in less than an hour, much of it spent on a bus?