Grewingk Glacier in Kachemak Bay
story & photos by Cecil Sanders of Last Frontier MagazineOn a recent trip exploring Kachemak Bay with friends of mine, Dave and Peter, the three of us ventured through Halibut Cove on Dave’s 26 foot MacGregor sailboat, and into Halibut Cove Lagoon. A park ranger instructed us toward the Saddle Trail which would lead us to Grewingk Glacier Lake with views of Grewingk Glacier. Dave and I rowed from the boat to the beach. After pulling the dingy up the beach above the high tide mark, with camera gear and bear protection in hand, we began our hike toward Grewingk Glacier.
The view of Halibut Lagoon while climbing up the Saddle Trail Dave researched the trail a bit online to get an idea of distance and elevation. The descriptor of ‘flat’ and ‘easy’ wasn’t necessarily true. Before Dave and I reached the flat and easy section, we climbed about .4 miles up a switchback trail into a saddle that offered stunning 180 degree views of Halibut Lagoon and out to Kachemak Bay. At the top of the saddle, workers were carving out a newer and much more improved trail just above us to our left. We hiked through high vegetation of grass, devil’s club and cow parsnip. Sometimes our line of sight was limited to 10-12 feet ahead of us, and 5-6 feet to our sides. That distance wasn’t very reassuring as we dodged many piles of fresh bear scat loaded with grass and blueberries.
The final section before arriving to the glacier
A family enjoys the scene at Grewingk Glacier Dave and I descended down into a heavily graveled moraine with tall alders on all sides. The much needed cool breeze picked up and pushed away the many gnats and mosquitoes trying to dive bomb us. Traces of the glacier came into view through the densely covered trail. Before long, we were standing in front of Grewingk Glacier, its silty lake in front of it, and small icebergs floating to the shore. The long half moon shaped gravel shore gave plenty of room to explore and take in different angles of the glacier. We reversed course after a few minutes of enjoying the scenery and taking photos.
Grewingk Glacier Water taxis buzzed in and out of the cove picking and dropping off hikers. We met many hikers along the trail of all ages. Dave and I enjoyed the walk and conversations. It was a pleasant time, and an all around very nice hike. The hikers on the trail shared the same spirit and symptoms as we did, happy and winded.
Captain Dave approaches the final descent before arriving back to the beach
Old pilings on the beach and the Gypsy Vixen anchored in the cove
If you enjoyed "Hiking to Grewingk Glacier" check out "Exploring the Magnificent Scenery of Alaska's First State Park - Kachemak Bay."
Your first photo startled me so much I dug out my own photo, shot from the very same spot. I’m preparing a talk on my visit to Homer last may and my description of the switchback also includes fresh piles of bear scat. My companion on the trip was 76 while I’m a young 73 year old. We both agreed that the descriptions of the hike (we started from Rusty’s Lagoon) was much more difficult than described. We should have read your description first.
Your first photo startled me so much I dug out my own photo, shot from the very same spot. I’m preparing a talk on my visit to Homer last may and my description of the switchback also includes fresh piles of bear scat. My companion on the trip was 76 while I’m a young 73 year old. We both agreed that the descriptions of the hike (we started from the trailhead at Rusty’s Lagoon) was much more difficult than described. We should have read your description first.
Fantastic Capture in both words and photos!! Alaska at its best!!!