The Two RV Gypsies: Full-Time RVers
hiking on the Matanuska Glacier for their 3rd time.
It is a Massive Sheet of ice in Alaska
Page 1 of 2
July 18, 2016

Matanuska Glacier is a valley glacier in the US state of Alaska. At 27 miles long by 4 miles wide, it is the largest glacier accessible by car in the United States. Its terminus feeds the Matanuska River. It lies near the Glenn Highway about 100 miles north-east of Anchorage. Matanuska Glacier flows about one foot per day.

Matanuska Glacier Matanuska Glacier and a small pond of water

Below: The two RV Gypsies noticed the glacier’s retreat: where there had once been a top layer of white ice there was now an uneven field of pitch-black stones, rocks and debris.

Matanuska Glacier and a small pond of water Matanuska Glacier

Below: Being able to walk up to any glacier is a stunning experience, (but may not always be safe). This is the biggest, and perhaps most impressive roadside glacier, in part because it can easily be touched. Access to the glacier is on private land, so there is a fee. This was the third time that the two RV Gypsies have walked on this glacier, but Ilse Blahak's first. John Smyther's knee was hurting him a lot, so John and Renee stayed in their cabin instead of taking the journey on this date. Such a shame that they had to miss out on such an unique experience. There was an experienced guide leading this adventure on this date.

Karen and Ilse follow the guide pathway through the mud on the Matanuska Glacier

Below: The glacier can be reached from the parking lot in good hiking shoes which the two RV Gypsies did twice in 2009, but a guided tour with crampons is recommended for the steeper parts, and also for safety reasons.

proceed at yur own risk sign

Below: The two RV Gypsies showing off their crampons, a new experience for them.

Karen Duquette's crampon The two RV Gypsies showing off their crampons
Matanuska Glacier Matanuska Glacier

Amid the sections topped with rocks, weird massive-sized shapes amazed the two RV Gypsies, once again. Lee Duquette especially like the giant "ice cream cone shape" shown below. These were much bigger than they look in the photos.

ice cream cone on the Matanuska Glacier weird shapes on the Matanuska Glacier
the two RV Gypsies on the Matanuska Glacier

Below: Some areas consisted of soft, slimy mud, and others of crunchy stones.

soft, slimy mud and rocks soft, slimy mud

Below: Karen Duquette and her younger sister, Ilse Blahak.

A small flowing stream of water in a crevice,

Karen Duquette and Ilse Blahak ice, rock and flowing water

The two RV Gypsies were amazed because it was not a very cold day even though they were walking on ice. It was very peaceful and the only sound was the crunch of the crampons as everyone made their way up and around crevasses over dense ice, so fluid and flexible. The Matanuska Glacier, thousands of years old, is still active, shifting and creeping along its 27-mile length daily.

Matanuska Glacier Karen Duquette and her sister on Matanuska Glacier
design in the ice Karen Duquette and the guide

Below: The two RV Gypsies practiced going up and down a steep slope of ice in their crampons.

Karen Duquette walking down a sheet of ice Lee Duquette walking up a hill of ice.

The two RV Gypsies enjoyed seeing much more than just ice. There were lots of pitch-black stones, multi-colored boulders, rocks and debris, deep and oddly shaped crevices, dramatic pools of water, weird shaped ice formations, the Chugach Mountains, flowing water, and lakes. All memories that will last a lifetime. It was a very different experience from the other two times that the two RV Gypsies have been on the Matanuska Glacier.

the two RV Gypsies and a big boulder water-filled crevice
Karen Duquette

The guide demonstrated using her toe crampons to climb straight up the ice. But she would not let any of us try it.

guide climbing a sheet of ice

Below: The two RV Gypsies were dwarfed by the size of the ice structures on the Matanuska Glacier.

Lee Duquette Karen Duquette

Below: This valley, carved by glaciers, is the meeting place for 3 mountain ranges: the Chugach Mountains, the Talkeetna Mountains and the Alaska Range. The valley is home to thousands of rivers and lakes, left behind by the movement of the glacier.

valley carved by glaciers a happy trio at  the lake

Below: Lee Duquette took a panorama of the area. Below the panorama photo, there is also a close-up photo of the beginning and ending section seen in the panorama - including the guide, doing her own thing up the face of a big chunk of ice.

lake and big layer of ice guide doing her climbing thing again
the two RV Gypsies at the lake lake and tall sheets of ice

Below: Karen Duquette loves photography so she took time to admire the beautiful patterns under her feet as she walked on Matanuska Glacier.

beautiful patterns under their feet beautiful patterns under their feet
look below

Please continue on to page 2 of Matanuska Glacier in 2016 to see really huge ice formations. Photos have been put on two pages so they can upload faster and enhance the enjoyment of viewers.