Day 39: Glacial Milk and Flour

My fascination with glaciers started during my summit of Chimborazo, a 20,000 some foot mountain in Ecuador, in 1991.  I’ll never forget how intrigued I was with the ice formations that stool higher than my head and the wide gaping crevices.

Click here to read more about this mountain

Due to it’s position on the equatorial bulge, Chimborazo is the highest peak if measured from the center of the earth.

After that climb I began reading all that i could about glaciers; their formation, history and personalities.  Yes, Glaciers are fascinating characters.

Here’s a great site to learn a little more about these beasties:

Click here to learn more about Glaciers

Click here to learn more about Glaciers


In the mean time here are a few tidbits:

1.  Largest glacier in the world


Courtesy of Click to read more about this glacier.

The Lambert-Fisher Glacier in Antarctica, is 250 miles long and approximately 60 miles wide (roughly the size of Rhode Island). It’s a whopping 8202 feet deep (roughly the height of Mount Shasta) and drains 8% of the Antarctic ice sheet.

2.  Some glaciers “Gallop.”


Click here to read a famous story about a Galloping Glacier.

A galloping glacier can advance many feet a day.  The Hubbard Glacier (in Alaska) once moved at a rate of 32 feet a day for months.  You can witness movement when a glacier “calves.”

3.  Glaciers are retreating; a worrisome sign for scientists.

Image provided by Jeffrey Kargel, USGS/NASA JPL/AGU, through the NASA Earth Observatory.

Click for a great article on glaciers and global warming. Image provided by Jeffrey Kargel, USGS/NASA JPL/AGU, through the NASA Earth Observatory.

4.  Some glaciers “Calve.”


Click here to see a calving in action

This is how icebergs are born. It’s the process of ice breaking off the terminus of a glacier into a body of water.

5.  Some glaciers “Hang.”

Click to learn more about Hanging Glaciers. Photo by Mierk Schwab

Click to learn more about Hanging Glaciers. Thank you Mierk Schwabe for the use of your photo.

Click here to check out more   Mirk Schwabe  photos. 

These are seen in alpine areas and result due to the angle of the mountainside.  As the glacier moves it cascades down as avalanches and icefalls.

6.  Glaciers have Ice Worms.


Picture courtesy of Seattle Times. Click on image to read story.

  Surprisingly, there are worms that live in the depths and surfaces of glaciers.  You wouldn’t think anything could grow in such a harsh and desolate climate.

7.  Glaciers make MILK and FLOUR.


Glacier flour. Click here to see a quick video.

A very fine sediment created by the grinding of glacial ice against rock flows from the glacier.  It’s a powder as fine as chalk and it stays suspended in the run off water as it travels from the foot of the glacier all the way down rivers and into lakes.  The Milk gives the water a, well, milky appearance and in lakes it can create a soft turquoise color.

The Poodles and I had a great time hiking along a milk and flour filled river.  It was fascinating to see the clear streams entering the main milky river and how the confluences mixed.

river milk


Day 10 First day Tombstone Territorial Park

Tombstone Campground

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We woke up to the promise of a nice day. It rained all night so this is a very pleasant surprise. There are several small nature walks around the campground and we walked one of them last night. I’m a little worried about bears and the poodles so walking through the dense brush, even on a trail, is a little disconcerting. I make noise by talking and clapping but the dogs have to be leashed so they don’t run ahead and stir something (someone) up.

Some of you know my opinion of the little jingle bells that are sold as bear bells… I call them Dinner Bells.   They give off such a tiny delicate sound it’s not really of much use. A bear will hear your stomping through the woods before it hears those fairy bells. Well, you do want to make noise because even a bear is going to want to avoid any altercation if it can help it. A normal comfort range for a bear is about 12 feet. If you run across a mom with cubs, she isn’t going to tolerate you crossing that boundary. If you can startle her Before you’re too close, then even a bear with babies will run before it wants to fight. Moose can be more dangerous than bears and there is plenty of evidence that they’re here in the campground.

Ever since I picked up the pile of cans at Memorial Lake, I’ve been stashing them under the truck.  I want to see how many I can collect before the end of the trip.  (I’m starting to develop some odd goals now that I’ve spent too much time alone on the road). I like to claim that it’s a way to ‘give back’ a little … you know…  Cleaning up the environment as I go….)

All those cans hanging around gave me an idea…..


I came up with what I’m calling The Yukon Bear Bell.


A Canadian Budweiser can filled with rocks. A hole drilled through the top allows for a velcro strap for holding the ‘bell’ to the poo’s collar.



In any case, after hiking the closed-in trails I decided we needed a better destination. One of the longer trials ended at the edge of the River so I thought that might be a great place to go so we headed down the trail with the girls on leashes with Eureka doning her new necklace.


TinTin’s been left in the Camper for this excursion since she’s injured her toe again.

IMG_2532 About a year ago she pulled a tendon in one of her toes and since then, it’s a bit ‘owwie’ if she walks for too long on uneven ground.  At least that’s the excuse she gives me.  I think she’s prefers the comfort of a warm bed in her old age.  I feel bad leaving her but she really is happier.

We leave the campground via a short trail through low brushIMG_2580IMG_2579


Nickel carries the map

We discover some cairns marking a path… not that you could get lost on this river!  LOL





This was the perfect river to hike. It had a half-dozen braids to follow and the level was low enough we could meander.

Eureka is really digging her new role as the Explorer

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The river’s edge was a combination of rocky shoreline and deep squishy moss. The moss was wonderful to walk on, although soaking wet.



I saw my first set of caribou tracks.


Caribou tracks


Caribou prints are circular. They look a little like a horse shoe with a gap at the top as well as the bottom. Seems like a great design for walking through spongy moss.


The girls were able to be off leash since the wide expanse of braiding gave me at least a half mile of visual on either side.


I busied myself with rock hunting while the girls pursued more lively game. IMG_2611They chased some sort of small rodent without much success.  I watched it scurry away as their noses kept them interested in the original rock it was under. It was very fat and squat with a short tail. I think it was a lemming.


In any case, it was quicker and more savvy than the poodles and I watched it dart between some rocks and scurry away while the poodles were still head in the rocks wagging their tails. Nickel did manage to find a small piece of caribou hide.


Eureka wanted in on the action

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She carried it around for a while but must have decided it was too much work to eat.


Of course she found other dead creatures to eat

IMG_2599 IMG_2597Nickel is truly a great scavenger and I thing if she could live strictly off carrion, she might even make it out in the wild.  On most outings she’s managed to find some nasty dead thing.  However, if she had to actually hunt and kill something,  she’d be short-lived.  She’s pretty hopeless in that department.


We walked for several hours before deciding it was time to head home.


It was hard to end our excursion.



As we walked down the road toward the campground, I saw a fresh set of moose prints. Amazing how stealth they can be.



We had a great camping spot along the river’s edge and once back to the camper, settled down to a ”water view’ for the evening. TinTin was very interested in the scents that were traveling upstream. She decided to play her  “I’m afraid but brave” game and made several trips to the water’s edge only to run back to the camper and then, repeat the process over and over again.




She decided it was safer to watch from the campsite….


finally she satisfied herself as a sentry from INside the camper.



The day was winding down and the rain… of course… was beginning its patter on the roof so we called it a night.  I settled down with a book and the poodles began reliving their day with bouts of lip twitching and leg paddling.


Arctic cranberries and a mushroom. Which one do you think is edible?