LIFE & CULTURE ·
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End-times tourism in the land of glaciers

I gazed from the cruise ship’s railing with a contemporary Alaskan’s gloom

GLACIER Bay National Park and Preserve is one of those Alaska showpieces more often seen by visitors than by the state’s residents. When I finally got there this summer, after more than 40 years living in Alaska, I arrived the way most people do, onboard a cruise ship, in the company of a few thousand tourists from around the world.

The remote park’s lofty summits and ice-carved fjords, the humpbacks and orcas and grizzlies, lived up to what I’d heard. As passengers spilled onto the upper observation deck, agog, the ship’s theatrical pirouette before a wall of blue glacial ice showed off Romantic nature in all its timeless glory.

Something was amiss, though, at least for me. I was along...

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