Last Updated on July 12, 2019 by Candy Wafford
Be adventurous… Let the Glaciers chill you, And the Fire grill you… Let the Oceans fill you And the Mountains thrill you... – Fatema Jaleel
I like an adventure. And I like trying new things. These are two of the reasons I love to travel. There’s always something new to see or do and there’s always an element of adventure. I recently did the helicopter and glacier walk tour offered by Coastal Helicopters in Juneau and it was the perfect mix of adventure and sightseeing.
I knew I wanted to take a helicopter tour during our recent Alaskan cruise. I love to fly and have done paragliding, parasailing and ziplining but have never been in a helicopter. And I couldn’t think of a better place to give it a go than Alaska.
Juneau is full of things to do including dogsledding, hiking, whale watching, zip lining, kayaking, and many other options. As great as those activities sounded, I knew I not only wanted to take a helicopter ride but also see a glacier up close. After researching various companies I decided on the Iceland Excursion tour offered by Coastal Helicopters because it gave me the opportunity to experience both.
We were picked up at our cruise ship and after a quick ride through town, we found ourselves at the Juneau International Airport. Once checked in we were fitted with shoe covers that have cleats on them for walking on the glacier. A quick safety video and we were led to our helicopter.
The Helicopter Ride
Our helicopter and glacier walk in Juneau was about to begin! There are six passengers to a helicopter and a pilot. Four passengers sit in the back and two up front. Not gonna lie, I was seated in a middle seat in the back and it was a tight squeeze. Make sure you have your camera in your hand because your pockets are going to be pretty hard to get to once you are strapped in. Headsets are available so that you can hear the pilot and ask questions.
A crazy big grin spread across my face as soon as we started lifting off the ground. I love the feeling of weightlessness that comes with flying. Later, my husband told me that he knew I was enjoying the ride because I had a silly grin on my face the whole time.
The scenery is unbelievable. The sweeping landscape includes gorgeous turquoise waters, soaring pine-covered mountains, and snowcapped scenery all around. As we approached the mountains it felt like we were in a movie. Words seem inadequate here but let’s go with majestic beauty.
I was taken with how we didn’t seem to be flying very quickly or very high, but then I would look down and see a building or another helicopter that appeared to be tiny. The scale of the scenery is vast. I’m actually getting a little emotional thinking about it. This truly was a special experience.
We approached Herbert Glacier and our pilot gently landed the helicopter. We were sitting in the middle of a glacier! And ours was the only helicopter at the site. One of the things I really liked about the tour with Coastal Helicopters was that we took off at the same time as several helicopters from the company, but we had our own spot. The pilot told us that most companies visit the Mendenhall Glacier but it gets crowded, so they visit Herbert. Good call Coastal Helicopters!
The Glacier Walk
Our pilot alerted us to areas of snow that we should avoid and to not walk backward. From there we exited the helicopter and started our exploration of the glacier. It is simply stunning! Stunning! We were blessed with incredible weather and while it was cool on the glacier, the sun kept us warm and added to the beauty.
As we were walking around, a young couple in our group was having their picture taken when the fella got down on one knee and proposed. So sweet! Witnessing a proposal added a romantic element to an already memorable event for all of us.
Our pilot shared with us information about glaciers, pointed out moulins, a shaft in the glacier where water enters from the surface, and encouraged us to scoop up some of the water running through the cracks and give it a taste. I’m the only one that did, and it was the coldest, cleanest water I’ve ever tasted.
I took a break from taking pictures to just take a minute and rest in the experience. To really feel the calm and serenity that comes from being in a place of extraordinary beauty and has the strength to carve valleys. While there, I was taken with the adventure and wonder of the experience and now I’m feeling it in a much more emotional way.
Sadly, our time on the glacier came to an end and we boarded the helicopter. Again, stunning scenery. Alaska is gorgeous from the ground, but I would encourage everyone to see it from the air as well. From above you can really appreciate how vast it is.
We landed safely and were taken back to town. The helicopter tour was special, and one person commented that the entire Alaskan cruise was worth it just for that experience. Pretty strong words but ones I agree with.
If you are taking a cruise through Alaska, I highly recommend taking a helicopter and glacier walk in Juneau with Coastal Helicopters.
Coastal Helicopters Icefield Excursion costs $309 per person. The tour last approximately 2.5 hours and includes roundtrip transportation from your cruise ship or downtown.
Additional information and booking options can be found at Coastal Helicopters.
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