Spencer Glacier

Ron Niebrugge Alaska, Chugach, Photos, Travel 13 Comments

Spencer Glacier, Chugach National Forest, Alaska.

Spencer Glacier, Chugach National Forest, Alaska.

Just got home from an overnight trip to the Spencer Glacier.  I have past by Spencer Glacier on the Alaska Railroad many times, I have rafted passed it, even flown over and photographed it from a helicopter a couple of times – but despite my best intentions, have never spent the night out there.  It has been on our “to do” list for a couple of years, and with wonderful weather moving in this past week, we decided it was the perfect time to go!

By spending the night, I was there for the best light around sunrise and sunset – although the skies completely cleared and I didn’t get the dramatic sky I was hoping for, I still found plenty of dramatic scenery!  This also gave us extra time to explore the area – even put on crampons and was able to check out the glacier which is an easy three mile hike away.

Spencer Glacier has to be one of the best day trips around.  You get there by catching the Alaska Railroad in Anchorage or Portage.  The railroad drops you off at a small station in this beautiful remote country.  The train passes back through the area a couple of hours later giving you time to hike around, or to go on a rafting trip with Chugach Adventure Guides.  I photographed the rafting trip for the railroad a few years back – it is fun!

Or, if you prefer, you can do like we did and bring your camping gear in backpacks and spend the night or multiple nights.  A new trail that takes you way up into the nearby mountains is almost compete – next time we will be doing it.  Eventually, there will be a series of trails and huts connecting railroad stops through this entire remote country.  They are working another trail this summer that will eventually connect to 5 different whistle stops.  When done, It will offer easy access to some amazing country!

Comments 13

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  6. Ron,
    This shot, along with another one I’ve seen recently published are both exquisite. I envy your proximity down there to some wonderful locations, but we both like this state because it is immense and you can consume it all. May I ask what time you took this shot and did you split grad it?

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    Hi Patrick,


    As we had day after day of rain while I was seeing 70 degree temps for Fairbanks, I must say I had envy for your weather and proximity to the Haul Road. 🙂 We do live in a wonderful, diverse State.

    This was taken on this day July 19th last summer. I think it was about 10 at night – large mountains to the Northwest precluded the wonderful light I was really hoping for. I doubt the flowers look anything like this today – they are running very late this year.

    I shot it with a split grad and also with bracketed exposures. This was a quick blend of exposures for the blog – we did a much better job for the final version. I would rather use a spit grad, but the transition wasn’t even enough.

    Let me know if you get down this way!

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