>Off the Beaten Path>Glaciers and travel
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I have never been, but what about Glacier NP? Likely cheaper than a cruise. They forecast no glaciers left there by 2020, so if you want to see what gave the park its name now is the time.
I have never been but friends who have been there speak highly of it. Some hiking was required but these people were not athletes by any stretch. I've spent a lot of time about 50 miles south of there in the mountains, absolutely beautiful.
Get a nice big can of bear spray.
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It's sort of far away, but have you considered SE Alaska? Juneau has the Mendenhall glacier. It was pretty amazing, but I guess it too is shrinking. I hiked the trail to the glacier and it was one of the coolest hikes I've ever done.
There is also Banff / Lake Louise.
MTA: The camping at the park was fantastic and Juneau is really kid friendly. I really liked it a lot!!!!!!
One vacation I flew to Alaska, rented a car and drove around. We stayed in hotels / hostels or with friends. Plenty of disappearing glaciers and hiking trails that you can just pull over at the side of the road. We stayed a few days in each city before moving on. Cant say Im a fan of cruises.
Cant say Im a fan of cruises.
Cant say Im a fan of cruises.
God, me either. Of course, you would see them. When I drove to AK from DC back in 2008, I saw some pretty fantastic glaciers. You don't realiaze they are even glaciers when you're standing next to one. Well, I guess I didn't know what to expect until I saw one.
I am a fan of the ferry system in AK. Much better than a cruise ship.
Remember crusies are for: The newlywed, the almost dead, and the overfed.
Plus, you have to take a helicopter from the boat to the glacier.
Iceland without a doubt. I traveled there with my daughter last summer, loved it so much we went back this past June. It is a hikers paradise. We rented a car and drove around stopping to hike at volcanoes, waterfalls, hot springs, glaciers, the ocean, the mountains, whatever was interesting. The citizens are some of the kindest and most welcoming I've come across. It can be pricey, but compared to a cruise, I found it to be about the same. I can't wait to go back.
BTW - I used to do cruises but being surrounded by the newlywed, nearly dead, and esp. the overfed, put me off them forever!
Yosemite as well as the Eastern Sierra range has lots of glaciers. Mammoth Lakes is pretty awesome in the summer (for taking a short backcountry trip to Thousand Islands lake serving as a base for hiking up to the glaciers). The glaciers are on Mt Banner - unbelievably beautiful. You can backpack/hike on part of the John Muir trail and/or the Pacific Crest Trail. The ski resort becomes a mountain bike park in the summer and the town is pretty cool. Drive a couple hours and you're in Yosemite. I would have to rate this as more skewed towards hiking/backpacking/nature rather than Disneyland-type 'kid' actitivities though.
PS - I hear there's some decent running there, too!
Thanks for the ideas (Iceland? intriguing, though pricey. And Alaskan ferry system, I'll have to check on that). I wasn't looking for Disneyland-like kid activities. More like a day of rafting, a day of kayaking, a day of hiking -- days in a row of hiking become tedious for the kids. We have a slight problem, too, that my youngest has some animal phobias after his dog bite two years ago. They are a bit hard to predict -- he became terrified during a sea kayaking trip last summer and and he and I had to turn back. (How could we know there would be no sharks?) He was able to camp in the back country with me earlier this summer, though we had a rather painful conversation in which he wanted to know how I 'knew' there were no bears near our tent. "I know there are bears in the these mountains, but how do you know there are no bears here where we are?"* So, while wildlife is awesome, and we know how to be safe, etc, there is an unpredictability to his backcountry anxiety that makes me reluctant to go too hardcore. Iceland doesn't have bears I don't think ...
I am with everyone on the cruises -- not my idea of fun. The cruise I was looking at had a gear list that was more Outward Bound than Love Boat. When I tried to find the prices, it seems that the particular outfit is not actually in business, which might make booking a trip difficult.
* I find his questions to be heartbreaking. He so much wants to be reassured ("We know there are no sharks/bears/big mean dogs because...") and yet I can't promise him total safety. He's not that interested in risk assessment at this point, We know as parents that we can't keep our kids safe all the time. I'm not a parent who is consumed with the desire to bubble wrap my kids. However, I wish my little guy didn't have such a clear understanding that there are dangers from which I cannot protect him.
Sorry, please don't take offense at 'Disneyland-like' - lots of kids think that that's the best vacation ever and we did those with my kids when they were young. Just that Mammoth can be a great vacay for kids that are into outdoor adventures - mountain biking (extreme and tame), rock wall climbing, skateboarding, horseback / dirt-bike / ATV riding etc in addition to the can-be-boring-for-kids backpacking / hiking / fishing. And you can see glaciers, the ones in the lower 48 are the ones that may disappear entirely fairly soon.
What about the Pacific Northwest?
I grew up in Vancouver, and there is very accessible hiking to glaciers along the 2 hr drive from Vancouver up to Whistler.
The Black Tusk/Garibaldi Lake area in Garibaldi Provincial Park is spectacular, as is the Singing Pass area (located at Whistler), and both offer easy access to spectacular alpine and glaciers within about a 3hr moderate hike from the trail head (less in the case of Singing Pass if you cheat and start from the top of Whistler via chairlift). Both are probably better experienced as three day/two night hikes (day 1 hike in, day 2 hike around, day 3 hike out) but doable as strenuous day trips. There are shelter/huts at some of the campgrounds which might ease wildlife concerns (though I remember them hosting a few mice). Not sure if you can reserve these...
Between them I would think that Vancouver/Whistler would take care of the "entertaining the kids" factor.
I didn't spend my teenage years in the mountains of Washington, but I suspect there are similar glaciated areas in the Cascades or the Olympics, not too far from Seattle.
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