4 September: The day began with a continuation of the plethora of water falling in its diverse ways from the mountain edge. They’re all different and all appealing. One began with a long fall that was unusually vertical presumably because there was no wind to disturb it and it remained out from the rock wall behind it so there was no spray from water-rock encounters: a long descending relatively thin column of water, remarkable in its way, and then a couple of intervening collisions with rock, pond, another fall, and off in a stream to the ocean. Then falls became fewer as glacial tongues filled valleys looking out to the distant ocean. I think I passed a half dozen or so; it’s quite an unusual sight yet becomes almost normal. A couple of these fed into “ice lagoons” where water gathered and bergs floated. Naturally, tourists feasted on these; I was able to park, even eat at the café, and walk up to the lagoon on the smaller and less popular of the two. The second was impossibly crowded so I moved on. In one area there was a display about a 1996 event when sub-glacier volcanic activity erupted causing massive melting and then flooding combined with who knows what volcanic debris and the sweeping away of bridges and roads and scattering of boulders. It would have been a frightening and astounding thing to see. The latter part of the drive, then, consisted of outwash plains, some of them with moss but mostly not (and the moss was gray indicating an insufficiency of rain), the moss seeming to prefer lava rock to other varieties, and the long escarpment broken at times by glaciers and a few falls. The mountains were often striking and the glaciers always so. The mountains were somewhat different than the earlier ones in that they were less green. The sides that more or less aimed southerly toward the Atlantic were green, although not densely, but the front edges were mostly talus slope with no apparent growth. Steepness, different kind of rock, or whatever, these faces had changed.

The lagoons could have been places of quiet appreciation—silently floating bergs, glacier a stolid, slightly ominous presence across the upper side of the lagoon, mountains framing the scene, stream maintaining balance between melt and outflow—but were taken over by guided tour vehicles and the hordes waiting to ride them.

Photos via Unsplash


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