Going it Alone: The Waterfall at Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska

I stood at the observation point on the balcony at the Visitor Center overlooking the great Mendenhall Glacier at Juneau, Alaska. Before me was a beautiful scene. The glacier reflected in the large lake. Ooh, ahh. Both to the left and right were mountains. It was a beautiful clear day. I watched the people too, walking around taking photos, and looking at the scenery before us and at the displays in the center, just a few feet away.

A constant roar came from a tall and full waterfall to the right of the glacier. Once, the glacier covered the waterfall. No one was aware of its presence before the glacier receded. I looked closer at the base of the waterfall. There seemed to be a sandbar and people walking on it. With my binoculars I traced the path they must have taken below me. It crossed large sandbars separated by streams and covered with bushes. I found the general location of the beginning of the path. A ranger told me that there was a way to get out there, but it wasn't official, and that it was a little steep at one point. I decided that the best way to see such a beautiful place was up close, so I decided to try it. My mom and my husband were along with me. I told them I wanted to try the path, and asked if they wouldn't mind just hanging around waiting for me since they didn't want to join me.

Into the bushes I went. Immediately, I had to scramble along steep wet slate under the cover of brush. After following some wrong trails and trying again, I found myself in the large bush-covered sandy area heading towards the waterfall. I jumped little streams and plotted my course across to my goal. My last obstacles were climbing a large rock, and then traversing a 20 ft. wide stream dotted with well-placed stepping stones.

I walked right up to the roaring waterfall, and even climbed up along side it a ways on large rocks. Walking away from the waterfall I encountered a large cloud of mist that emanated from its base. I walked out along the sandbar towards the center of the lake and found a large rock to sit on. I had a snack, enjoying being present in this amazing location -- surrounded by the lake and flanked by a glacier, a grand waterfall and mountains. I met people too. Some kids were climbing up much higher than I had on the rocks. A gentleman from Germany took my photo, and I took a photo of two girls out on their own adventure.

After an hour of 'hanging around,' I turned back. I crossed the creek, climbed the rock, and then looked for hikers emerging from the bushes to find the best path back. A couple times I had to stop and wait for new hikers so I could find the path again. The sun was setting, the floating icebergs were glimmering on the lake, and I enjoyed every moment of delay.

My entire trek took about two hours -- worth every moment. My husband and my mom were very understanding and said they enjoyed the visitor center and the scenery (which included me through the telescope!) I'm glad I had the courage to ask for that time. It would have been easy just to do the scheduled tour, and to take no risks. William Shedd once said, 'A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.' I find that when I go further, it makes all the difference. It creates treasured memories.

About The Author

Paths began to beckon Theresa when she was 12, visiting the Bridger Wilderness in Wyoming. Walking, dancing, and movement are a part of her, nourished by John Denver*s musical challenge for her to *fly.* Join her *walking with women* Life Discovery Tours.

Learn more about Theresa Gabriel - Women Summit LLC

http://www.womensummit.com - Life Discovery Tours, Women*s Retreats

Inflatable Boat Trailers

An inflatable boat trailer is needed if the user has a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB),... Read More

Why Should You Use Hiking Poles?

Why should you use hiking poles is perhaps the first question that may strike in... Read More

Pigeon Forge Campgrounds

Campgrounds are a perfect Pigeon Forge lodging option for visitors looking to be as close... Read More

Bird Safaris: Timbavatis Most Desired Plumage

Normally when you think Safari you think Big 5. The spotlight or limelight is traditionally... Read More

The Wandle Trail - Map and Illustrated Guide

The Wandle offered wonderful trout fishing up to the latter part of the last century.... Read More

Discount Lift Tickets - Learn what Colorado Ski Resorts Do Not Want You to Know!

How to get discount lift tickets for popular ski resorts in Colorado including Keystone, Breckenridge,... Read More

Bird Watching Mecca ? 338 Species At Acadia National Park

When it comes to birding, Acadia National Park is a mecca for sightings. The Park... Read More

Creative Camp Cooking

For most people, outdoor cooking is synonymous with barbeque, but there are many other ways... Read More

River Rafting in the Grand Canyon

Rafting through the Grand Canyon is the experience of a lifetime. Viewing the canyon from... Read More

Kayak Travel and Trips

If you love the thrill and adventure of kayak travel, the waters and lakes are... Read More

Scuba diving in South Africa

This truly beautiful country at the southern tip of dark and mysterious Africa offers diving... Read More

The Royal Barge Procession ? Splendor on the Chao Phraya River

The Royal Barge Procession in Bangkok, conducted on very rare occasions, is a spectacular royal... Read More

Zambia Safari Top Five National Parks

Zambia is Africa's best kept secret as far as safaris go. The country is a... Read More

Hiking in the Forest Knowing When to Slow Down

One morning in mid summer, I headed out for some time to myself on the... Read More

Code of Conduct for Outdoor Enthusiasts

My favorite outdoor related quote comes from John Muir, the father of our national park... Read More

Inflatable Pontoon Boats

Bryce Whitmore designed the modern whitewater inflatable pontoon boat, and in fact designed several models.... Read More

Is There Such A Thing As A Romantic Camping Getaway In Minnesota?

Today, Norm Goldman, Editor of Sketchandtravel.com and Bookpleasures.com is pleased to have as our guest,... Read More

Viewpoints on Whale Watching in Hermanus!

If you're looking to spot a whale, the first few things you'll hear people say... Read More

Topographic Maps 101

The intricate details on a topographic map can be befuddling, even frustrating, if you are... Read More

River Rafting in California

River rafting is a major attraction in California. The most popular California river rafting destination... Read More

Lightweight Backpacking: How Light?

You aren't lightweight backpacking if you are carrying twenty-five pounds for a summer weekend. I... Read More

Retired LoWs Do Yuma

Yuma, Arizona. In the winter, it's the best town in America with a year round... Read More

Hawaii Volcano Tour

A Hawaii volcano tour can be a most memorable experience, and is readily available (short... Read More

A Review of Inflatable Boat Manufacturers

There are many manufacturers of inflatable boats on the market today. Included below is an... Read More

Zambezi Sharks Under Threat at Protea Banks

Sharklife.co.za has been fighting an ongoing for the protection of the Zambezi shark on Protea... Read More

Hiking Trails Mt. Washington Valley NH - Trekking trails USA

Mt. Washington Valley Trails & Mt Washington - NHThe highest mountain in the northeast state... Read More

Lake Jipe straddling Tanzania and Kenya

So unknown is this treasure of Lake Jipe not many Tanzanians know of its existence... Read More

Unforgettable White Mountains Vacations ? The Most Scenic 100 Miles in New England

This amazing drive through the White Mountains of New Hampshire has a gorgeous vista at... Read More

Dancing With Whales

We've all heard about whalewatching from boats or shore, and a few companies are now... Read More

You Might Be An Ultralight Backpacker If...

If you you find yourself saying "Hey, that's a good idea," to more than one... Read More

Samoa, Heart of Polynesia

The islands of Samoa are emerging as an exciting new South Pacific travel destination between... Read More

Boston Vacations: Four Ways To Experience Beantown

Boston is a great destination city for a vacation. There's plenty on tap to see... Read More

Top Five African Safari Destinations

Any vacations in Africa will not be complete without going on a safari to experience... Read More

Where to Find Some of the Best Beaches in the World

We think that Cape Town has some of the best beaches in the world.You can... Read More

Arrowhead Hunting and Rock Collecting

We weren't planning to go rock and arrowhead hunting in Arizona. My wife and I... Read More

Costa Rica: Land of Natural Wonders

Costa Rica is a small country - just 75 mi/120 km separates the Pacific Ocean... Read More

Malaria Prevention - Five Ways to Avoid Catching It on Safari

Malaria is endemic to most of the areas in Africa where safari trips are still... Read More

4 Steps to an Enjoyable Hike

Some people have fought many years of their lives to preserve the rich heritage of... Read More

Its an Alien World in Every River

When you look at a river, what do you see? A few flies on top?... Read More

Beach Vacation Photo Tips ? Make Your Vacation AND Photos Memorable

Most people, who go on a family beach vacation, take plenty of photographs. Once you're... Read More

Hiking from Your Own Home

Picture this. You are stuck at home knee deep in household chores. Your mind wanders... Read More

On Safari in Northern Tanzania ? Back to The Sixth Day of the Creation

Tanzania's natural endowment as a wildlife safari destination is unrivalled. Wild animals roam in vast... Read More

Drive Me to WA Today!

Western Australia Driving Adventure Great Australian Road Trip Large is not the word for... Read More

The Great Outdoors is to be Explored and Loved in all its fullness

The thing with enjoying the great outdoors is seeing aspects of life that you do... Read More

Backcountry Safety ? An Essential 10-Point Checklist

The call of the wild can be seductive. The exquisite beauty of the wilderness, the... Read More

Mammoth Cave: One of the Most Beautiful in Our National Park System

Directly south of Louisville, just off Interstate 65 and not far from Cave City, Mammoth... Read More

Top Five Honeymoon Safari Destinations In Africa

An African honeymoon safari is the perfect way to celebrate your marriage.The pampering that you... Read More

Camping For Fun

Camping for fun is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and relax. But before... Read More

Ireland Golf Vacations ? Top Tips To Help You Plan an Ireland Golf Vacation

Live your golfing dreams on an Ireland golf vacation.The K Club, Ballybunion, Lahinch, Doonbeg, Druids... Read More

RV Vacations: Ten Tips

Perhaps you have wondered about taking an RV vacation. It seems like fun and you'd... Read More