The trip was part-planned, part-retail therapy. We'd been looking for a house to buy and been depressed about our options - especially when one house's engineer report came back as "demolish and rebuild the entire structure"! (We're taking the summer off from house hunting.)
Every spring the Audubon Society hosts a birding cruise up to Berner's Bay. We'd always thought to go, but this was the first year we managed it.
The cruise departed from Statter's harbor in Auke Bay early Saturday morning. Armed with binoculars we spotted eagles, bonaparte gulls, glaucous gulls, loons, arctic terns, black oystercatchers, harlequin ducks, cormerants, pidgeon guillemots, and thousands of scoters.
We stopped at the Benjamin Island sea lion haul-out for a look at those creatures. Mr. X managed to get a family photo.
The real show were the six or seven humpback whales along with the six killer whales we spotted. One of the killer whales was a young calf swimming with its mother. The boat we were on usually serves as a whale watching boat so the captain was very good at maneuvering to follow the animals as they worked the shoreline toward the south.
We cruised around Berner's Bay pausing for a moment at Bridget Point. It was pretty cool to see one of our favorite beaches from the water. We scanned the shoreline for the Berner's Bay cabin, but we did not find it - we're hoping at some point to either hike or paddle out to it.
Mr. X and I took Brad hiking to the glacier. Because the water level was so low on the lake, we hiked along the beach, then up, over the knob and finally down to the glacier. Brad was all for getting on the ice so we wandered around a little.
We peeked in an ice cave, inspected small moulins and hiked up near some seracs. When the walk started getting steep my get-a-grips were not gripping so I bowed out, returning to the edge of the glacier to calm my nerves with a piece of chocolate. The guys used their yak-tracks to get up close and personal with some seracs farther up the steepening slope.
Next we bushwacked up the drainage to the West Glacier trail and postholed through snow and crossed avalanche debris to the end of the trail.
Because of threatening weather, we had intended to only hike a few hours, we had such a great time that we were surprised to learn that we were out for eight. It was a great shake down for the summer - Remember to bring a water filter! We bought Mr. X some chicken pouches so he won't run out of food. I am also now the proud owner of pro yak-tracks; when I wimp out next time I can't blame it on my grippers.
Wednesday night we went walking to Nugget falls. Before we got half way there Mr. X was itching to sling some rocks, so I left him among the egg shaped stones and continued to the sand bar in front of the falls.
There were six mountain goats grazing on cliffs, and I took a seat on the DRY sand to watch. The kids appeared to be exploring; hopping from rock to rock, and weaving in and out of the willows. The adults grazed in the sunshine.