Between 58 and 60 degrees north latitude, is the Glacier Bay region, the margin of North America is thrown into a broad arc of rugged mountain ranges that intermingles with the Pacific is a maze of ice-scoured fjords, valleys, beaches, straits and islands, the whole comprising an amphibious landscape where no point of land or sea is more than 30 miles from a shore.
It is an austere place of big tides, strong currents, fall gales and frequent earthquakes, a landscape of great peaks hard against profound depths, of somber blues, greens and grays only occasionally relieved by the pastels of a grassy meadow or sunset sky. Though perhaps one quarter of the region remains under ice today, glaciers were much more extensive just two centuries ago, and during the last Great Ice Age coalesced into an all-pervasive plateau having the aspect of modern-day Greenland.
The Glacier Bay region can be subdivided into four geographic provinces: Glacier Bay, Icy Strait-Cross Sound, the Outer Coast, and Admiralty Island.
Did You Know?
Lupines are hardy pioneers typically growing in areas with nutrient poor soil, like those of a retreating glacier. The fine hairs on their stems and the undersides of their leaves help to deflect wind and retain heat for more favorable growing conditions.