My Itchy Travel Feet | The Baby Boomer's Guide To Travel

Saturday’s scene: retreating glacier

2012/04/21by Donna Hull

cruise-excursion-retreating-glacier

Baird Glacier’s retreat

I took this photo of a retreating glacier on an Innersea Discoveries cruise excursion in Southeastern Alaska. After jumping across glacial streams, our group climbed onto Baird Glacier’s frozen surface for one of my most favorite boomer adventures. On the way back, we stretched out on the spongy moss for a short rest. Supported by the soft surface, my face warmed by the sun, I marveled that a glacier had once embraced this very ground in its icy grip.

Of all our boomer travels, visiting glaciers has left the biggest impact on my environmental awareness. I’ve walked through a New Zealand rainforest to the terminal moraine at Franz Josef Glacier as glacial silt made swirly patterns in the riverbed, stood on the deck of a cruise ship in Alaska watching giant chunks of Hubbard Glacier crash into the sea and photographed icebergs from LeConte Glacier as they melted into LeConte Bay. Unfortunately, these glaciers are all melting—melting—melting. Glacier National Park in Montana was named for the many glaciers that once adorned the crown of the Northern Rocky Mountains. Once? That’s right the glaciers have almost all melted and are predicted to be totally gone by 2020—8 years from now.

Is the melting from these retreating glaciers due to global warming or the earth’s cyclical nature? I can’t tell you. And that debate is not the purpose of this post. My goal is to encourage you to visit these places that are changing in our environment so that you’ll come away more determined to lessen your own footprint on the world. I’ll admit, my efforts are meager at best, but Alan and I are trying to improve.

On this Earth Day weekend, stop to think about what you can do for our environment. And if you need help making changes in the way you live, check out some of my writer friends who have dedicated their careers to writing about the topic. Kris Bordessa at Attainable Sustainable urges readers to make sustainable choices that lead to increased self sufficiency. Alexandra Grabbe, Chezsven Blog: Wellfleet Today, is on a mission to educate her readers about the toxic dangers of the chemicals that permeate our lives. Downsize and live greener with Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell’s blog, Living Large in Our Little House. And then there’s the humorous Melanie McMinn who writes about green living at the Frugal Kiwi.

Have your boomer travels encouraged you to be more environmentally aware? Post a comment to share your thoughts. Alan and I believe that even the smallest step leads to big change.

 



A boomer travel and lifestyle authority who is exploring the world one activity at a time. Besides writing and publishing My Itchy Travel Feet, she also writes about boomer travel for My Well-Being Powered by Humana, Make It Missoula and is the author of My Itchy Travel Feet: Breathtaking Adventure Vacation Ideas.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

sheryl April 21, 2012 at 7:54 am

Thanks, Donna, for bringing awareness to this issue. I guess you really feel the impact when you are viewing it yourself. Alaska is such a vast landscape, and to see it altered – right in front of your eyes – is upsetting and frightening at the same time.
sheryl recently posted..When a Pet DiesMy Profile

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
April 23, 2012 at 11:12 am

It is sobering to see shrinking glaciers. Viewing one drives home the fact that our planet is warming.

Reply

Lane
Twitter:
April 21, 2012 at 7:55 am

The more we travel, the more we’re aware of the changing planet. We were shocked during a visit to Hoover Dam a couple of years ago. The water in Lake Mead has dropped so drastically that the dam may not be producing electricity as early as 2017.
Lane recently posted..Chinese Cuisine: Part 3My Profile

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
April 23, 2012 at 11:13 am

Lane, I didn’t know that about Lake Mead. We just crossed over Hoover Dam on our way to Montana and I was remarking to Alan about high high the watermark has become. It’s a big white stripe going around all the rocky shoreline of Lake Mead.

Reply

MyKidsEatSquid April 21, 2012 at 12:00 pm

I’m always impressed by the examples in other countries of how they use and acquire food so differently. For example, in Vienna, folks ride their bikes to the grocer, pick up just enough items for one, maybe two days, then bike home. A very different approach then our large mega stores.
MyKidsEatSquid recently posted..Can the toothfairy help your kids eat better?My Profile

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
April 23, 2012 at 6:50 pm

The Vienna system is a great one if you live in an urban area. Here in Montana, if I road my bike to the grocery store it would take all day to get home :-). However, we do have farmer’s markets and you can bet that as soon as they open in late May, I’ll be there.

Reply

Melanie
Twitter:
April 21, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Thanks for the shout out, Donna. It is hard not think seriously about green issues when you live in such an amazing country like New Zealand. We’ve got a good international reputation for green living, but we’ve got plenty of room to improve and lots of important habitat and wildlife to protect.
Melanie recently posted..Herb Spiral UpdateMy Profile

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
April 23, 2012 at 6:51 pm

When I visited NZ, one of the things that impressed me was the freshness of the food. NZ is doing something right!

Reply

Barbara Weibel April 22, 2012 at 2:20 am

Hard to believe that that pretty mossy plain was once covered by ice. For my part, I’m not so much concerned about whether or not global warming is a fact. I think we should all be driven to do what we can to care for the earth without regard for an impending disaster, which I think is in our near future. Like you, Donna, I never feel I do enough, but even the little things count. Every time I buy something I had the clerk back the plastic bag that my merchandise is inevitably put in, saying “Ill just carry it out in my backpack (or my reusable bag); plastic is very bad for he environment.” I try to fly as little as possible and use public transportation much of the time; am conscious of my water use; buy products in bulk; buy seasonal, local products whenever possible; recycle everything I can; etc. It may not seem like a lot, but if everyone committed to these simple practices, it would add up to a whole lot.
Barbara Weibel recently posted..PHOTO: Traditional Dances from the Coast of Peru Performed at Parque de la Muralla, LimaMy Profile

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
April 24, 2012 at 7:39 am

Thanks, Barbara, for sharing your environmental awareness tips. We are trying hard to give up the plastic water bottles. Not only are they bad for the environment, their also detrimental to our health.

Reply

Heatheronhertravels
Twitter:
April 22, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Yikes better get out and see it all before its too late. We do need to all do our bit individually for recycling and lower energy use but I do think there are some cultural norms that need to be changed judging by the amount of take out food materials thrown away that I saw on my visit to Texas.

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
April 24, 2012 at 7:40 am

Heather, thanks for letting us see wastefulness through your eyes. We over package everything in the U.S., partly because of our sue-happy society.

Reply

Mark H April 22, 2012 at 6:37 pm

Receding glaciers seem to be such a strong indicator that we all need to play our part. It struck me so visually at the wonderful Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau (http://www.travel-wonders.com/2009/07/mendenhall-glacier-juneau-alaska-usa.html). I love the verdant moss that looks so inviting to sleep on.
Mark H recently posted..An Appropriate Name (Cape Foulwind, New Zealand)My Profile

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
April 24, 2012 at 7:41 am

Thanks for sharing your glacier link, Mark. Glad you enjoyed the photo.

Reply

Jane Boursaw
Twitter:
April 22, 2012 at 7:36 pm

I’m not such a big traveler, but environmentalism and climate change seems to be big in movies lately. [Link Alert] Just posted an Earth Day piece, and it took me all of five minutes to come up with five recent kids movies with an environmental theme:
http://bit.ly/JGew4Z
Jane Boursaw recently posted..Rock of Ages International Poster: It’s All About the Tom Cruise Six-PackMy Profile

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
April 24, 2012 at 7:50 am

Thanks for the links, Jane. Five kids movies with an environmental theme? I guess that’s good as long as the movies aren’t overbearing. I hate to see our kids being preached to.

Reply

merr April 26, 2012 at 7:46 am

That is fascinating about environmental themes in movies. Who would have thought that would happen, and in such a mainstream kind of way (as opposed to a made-for-school movie)?
merr recently posted..stuck/unstuck: writing after babies arrive: Craig Mattes and Megan MattesMy Profile

Donna Hull
Twitter:
May 3, 2012 at 7:37 pm

Yes, Meredith it is interesting. I’m all for them as long as the movies are based on adequate research and accurately portray the problem.

Reply

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

This blog uses premium CommentLuv which allows you to put your keywords with your name if you have had 3 approved comments. Use your real name and then @ your keywords (maximum of 3)

Previous post:

Next post:

About Us

We're Donna & Alan Hull. We KNOW boomer travel.

Since 2008, we've published articles and photographs focusing solely on boomer travel: where to go, what to do and how to do it.

Partner with us

Did you know that baby boomers purchase 80% of luxury vacations and adults aged 55 + account for one-third of all trips in the U.S.? We can help you to reach an audience of active boomer travelers.

Learn more:


Have questions? Get in touch.

The fine print:

Media Mentions

We're the undeniable experts on boomer travel.


Need a boomer expert for your publication? Get in touch.