After an evening with the icebergs we traveled on until our path was stopped by an imposing blue block set between two mountains. The North Dawes Glacier looked back at our tiny ship, and all 200ft of it said, "You go no further." While the glacier was impressive, the mountains around it were ice-free until about halfway up.
"That's where the glacier has melted away the past five years," our guide said. "That rock hasn't been exposed for 10,000 years." He was interrupted by a shotgun blast.
"That's the glacier calving," he said, referring to when parts of the glacier break off into the water. It's been more frequent in the past decade or so. With enough of these blasts, the once-mighty block of blue ice will just be drops in the Pacific Ocean.
The week was an education. Not only in Alaska and its grand natural beauty, but in what it means to really be on vacation. With no cell service and no Wi-Fi, I was forced to get to know people on the ship beyond their Instagram posts. I took time to soak in the creations around me, and appreciate how they came to be. When we finally got to Juneau, my phone starting blowing up with a week's worth of text messages. Somehow they didn't seem so important.
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