This excursion offered by Holland America was expensive, but worth every penny! (And I don't say that about all HAL excursions!!) The five of us (My husband and me, along with our daughter and our grandchildren -- ages 14 and 17), were amazed and challenged by the scope of this adventure. We took the 4.5 hour Level 2 Helicopter Glacier Trek and were so glad we chose this one.
After preliminary instructions, we were outfitted with rain and wind proof jacket and pants, hard shell mountaineering boots, and gloves, we took off in the helicopter for an amazing 20 minute flight over the glacier and surrounding area, and landed on the Juneau Icefields. Once we landed we met our two guides who helped us with the rest of our equipment, including helmet, harness crampons and ice axe. we were briefed with a demonstration on how to traverse the crevices and walk on the ice, and then we had a practice session to get comfortable.
Then we were off for a two hour (two mile trek) up, down and sideways on the glacier. we also stopped at one of the many blue water rivulets and filled our water bottles up with pure glacier water!
The experience was challenging and daunting at times, but the guides (both female, I might add) were excellent in making sure we were safe and using our ice axes and crampons properly. They were also happy to take pictures of our group at many of the scenic sights. the pictures captured our feeling of fun and accomplishment!
One suggestion I would make that is also listed in the pamphlet is to wear some sort of mid calf or athletic sock (as opposed to the low cut socks you may be used to wearing inside your gym or running shoes.) when you are getting your gear before you board the helicopter, you will take off your shoes and put on the hard shell mountaineering boots. Having higher socks will give you a little bit more protection and help to prevent the boots from possibly rubbing.
All the staff associated with North Star Trekking was fantastic. For most of them this was a summer job like no other! And for us, it was a summer adventure like no other!
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