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Day 4 - Walking on Baird Glacier
by Pokin Y. (on Sep 12, 10)
Just after lunch, our skiff leaves for Baird Glacier.   While many of our stops were in clear, highly visible waters, here the waters were a grayish cloudy colour.   The appearance comes from all the glacial silt formed from ground up rocks caused by the glacier’s movement down the valley.  
 
As we sat in the skiff, there were some dicey moments trying to figure out if we would accidentally run the skiff aground given there was no visibility in the waters, and things looked rather shallow.
 
Thanks to some expert navigating and we arrived to shore fine.   No strandings today. :)
 
One by one we clamber out of the skiff and onto the rocky shore.   Another byproduct of the thousands of years of grinding is that the rocks on the ground were totally smooth.   There we were looking at a bed of moss littered with pebbles both large and small.
 
As we head towards the glacier proper, we cross over a number of terrains – first the beach, then the pebbles, then what feels like a dryish riverbed before we hit THE STUFF.
 
Kevin had told us about THE STUFF before.   It was fine glacial silt that sat suspended in water.   It was thick enough to carry your weight, but viscous enough to move so that when you stepped on it you felt like you were stepping on a giant waterbed.
 
Ok this is just what it took to bring the inner kid in us.
 
Our gang got to good work jumping and thumping on this stuff, trying to compress the silt or force cracks into the surface.   When we squished down one patch, we moved to the next as endless opportunities to walk and jump on this bouncy surface lay ahead.   We probably spent a good chunk of our exploration on this terrain before finally moving on to what look liked dirt –
 
Until we looked closely and realized that the ground was glistening a bit.
 
We’d hit the glacier!   It was just one really dirty part of it.
 
Elated by the fact we’d reached and stepped foot on the glacier itself, the group picked up speed, and before long the brownish stuff started turning lighter.   Still though, we were greedy and wanting to step foot on the white or blue glacier.   We saw the terrain change again, as holes and crevasses opened up, and then got bigger.   We pulled ourselves to a stop when we got to a particularly large crevasse.   Peering down as far as we could, we realized for a moment how fragile the terrain that we stood on was.   The sound of gushing water somewhere far below was a reminder that this was all melting away.
 
At that point we decided to back away from the edge.   Rather than head straight into the heart of the glacier, we took a different approach and meandered towards the left.   From where we stood, it looked like that patch to the left was whiter.
 
Of course it quickly became clear we were suffering from a grass is greener syndrome, as when we got there the ground was brownish again, and what we previously stood on looked pretty white.
 
Having probably spent a few hours now at the glacier, the gang slowly begins to head back.
 
Just before we got to shore though, Kevin had one last surprise for us.   Back at the mossy pebbly floor, he drops down and begins to nap.   With not many other options, we all decided to follow suite.
 
And what a marvelously relaxing experience it was.   If you asked me before the trip what I’d have thought if you were telling me I’d be sleeping on moss in front of some random glacier I’d mutter something back to you about you being on crack.
 
But it was one of my favourite experiences in the entire trip.
 
Some moments later, we left the fields, left the glacier and got back to our boat.

Jumping photo credit to Amanda Castleman
Moss sleeping & group photo credit to Jim and courtesy of Nellie Huang
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