A crew from Chugach Adventure Guides get the boats ready, and then we're off.
After a short train ride and even shorter bus ride we arrive at Spencer Lake, getting ready to head out to the glacier, an ever-changing landscape of ice. Now, if only I'd known it was going to rain.
After a quick but filling lunch, we get geared up in life vests and ponchos then head to the boats for a safety briefing on falling ice.
"Don't try to avoid the object by doing this," said guide Wade Withington, writhing his torso around. "This isn't ducking or covering -- it's something from ‘The Matrix,' and it's not going to help you."
Our guide, Melanee Staissany, gets us started -- and within minutes we have our first ice encounter.
"Yeah, these are tiny ones: we call 'em bergy bits," Staissany said. "You can pick one up and take it home and make cocktails with it."
The rafts maneuver easily through the lake and get us close to the icebergs, close enough to feel firsthand.
We wander through the icebergs, finding our way to the Placer River for the second part of our journey. For most of us, this means we can sit and relax, enjoy the scenery -- but Staissany has to keep working.
"The river's really shallow and it's easy to get stuck, so you have to be able to get out and push it off the gravel bars," Staissany said.
The brush is pretty dense so we didn't see any animals. But the scenery, even through the rain, is pretty amazing -- and seeing the world through the eyes of a visitor helps us remember that.
"I really enjoy their energy, because I think at times we maybe we forget when we live here, how spectacular something is," Staissany said. "And maybe, especially if you do a trip every day, to have someone jaw-drop and say, ‘This is beautiful,' makes me kind of appreciative of what we have here."
The float downriver is a mellow ride, with some minor rapids thrown in just to add a little excitement -- and to make sure you don't get out of the boat dry. Just between you and me, I highly recommend rain pants.
But a little water didn't stop the beauty of Alaska from shining through to our state's visitors.
"It was awesome, it was really great," said Leon Berkowitz of Norwalk, Conn. "We had a wonderful guide and learned a lot along the way, right up to the glacier -- it was just really cool."
"Seeing the glacier was so cool, how blue it was -- it glowed. That was really cool," said Katie Kitchens, who's visiting from North Carolina.
It was a damp day that turned into the perfect day trip.
Contact Tracy Sinclare at firstname.lastname@example.org