Inside Passage: Hike to Baird Glacier

The day after seeing humpbacks and orcas on our Inside Passage cruise, we saw fjords and ferns and hiked to Baird Glacier. Above, the Wilderness Explorer is anchored in a misty fjord in Thomas Bay.

We sailed up a fjord with steep sides. The first photo shows two adult bald eagles (look for the white heads) in a tall spruce tree. The tree is vertical, and it grows close to the side of the fjord, so the fjord wall is nearly vertical.

Riding a zodiac we got a closer look at the sides of the fjord. I enjoyed the moss and ferns. We’re in a temperate rainforest, which has an “annual precipitation over 140 cm (55 in)”. Southeast Alaska is part of “the largest area of temperate zone rain forests on the planet.”

This glacier extends past several ridges up the valley.

glacier goes up the valley
glacier goes up the valley

After lunch, we took  zodiac to the glacier, making a wet landing where we jumped into the water before climbing up the bank. Wearing rubber boots that extended up to our knees, we stayed dry.

Walking up the valley to the glacier, our guide saw a wolf footprint (on the left, above the big rock). Comparing the footprint to the boot, the wolf is pretty big! And wolves hunt in packs.

wolf footprint
wolf footprint

We hiked up to the lake in front of the melting glacier. The cloudy ice in the water was blue when it was part of the glacier.

small lake in front of Baird Glacier
small lake in front of Baird Glacier

The lake is formed by meltwater trapped between a tall moraine and the glacier. A moraine is a wall formed by rocks and dirt pushed along by a glacier. The glacier has retreated from the moraine, making room for the lake. The top of the moraine is now much higher than glacier and the hikers on the right. At one time, the face of the glacier was much higher than the moraine, showing how much the glacier has receded.

hike to Baird Galcier
hike to Baird Galcier

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I enjoy travel, art, food, photography, nature, California native plants, history, and yoga. I am a retired software engineer. The gravatar is a Nuttall's woodpecker that visited our backyard.

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