I've always wanted to walk on a glacier. Even with my numerous hours spent exploring the inner workings of Glacier National Park, this dream has seemed to elude me. Thankfully, Alaska has several glaciers with in a days drive of Anchorage to help make this a reality.
For me, birthdays are about doing things, not getting things. So I've been planning a trip to the Matanuska Glacier off the Glenn Highway for some time now. In an effort to "do something I've never done but [have always] wanted to do" yet again for my birthday this year, the day I had chosen to make this particular drive was going to be August 26th. Then I found out my husband had the opportunity to head to Tok on a hunting trip that week. Not wanting him to miss this adventure, we found ourselves with nothing to do and decently good weather for a change. So after lunch we gassed up the Subaru & headed north.
The drive is beautiful and I was happy to do it again in broad daylight and was much, MUCH less stressed, as this was the last section of my disastrous drive into Anchorage w/ the U-Haul.
Sadly, the only way to quickly reach this magnificent hunk of ice is by paying a fee of $20 per person to pass through the private land that blocks access to the glacier. As much as it pained me to part w/ this money to explore nature, it was well worth the experience and I'd recommend anyone hesitating on this part to bite the bullet and do it. You won't regret it once you get out on the ice. As far as the guiding services go, save the money & equip yourself with some crampons and pickaxes as we did and the average sturdy footed hiker will be plenty fine for trekking across the ice. After paying our fees, we passed through the gates and headed down a dusty road.
It only takes about 5-10 minutes to hike to the glacier itself. Thankfully we were equipped with some amount of our own gear and quickly left the crowds behind to delve deeper into the inner workings of this beauty. We spend a couple of hours slowly & carefully meandering around Matanuska Glacier, including finding numerous waterfalls and lakes. Yes, glacier water tastes as good as they said it would.