This Thanksgiving, millions will spend time traveling in planes, trains, and automobiles. So let’s kick off the holiday weekend with a couple of trips. The venues we’re headed to are more majestic and awe-inspiring than the average trip home for the holidays, but they’re also more ominous (unless your family dynamic is excessively dystopian). First, Alaska resident Tom Kizzia joins some tourists on a cruise to Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. NYT (Gift Article): End-Times Tourism in the Land of Glaciers. “Today, cruise ships must travel 65 miles into the bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to reach the last few majestic faces of ice. These ballyhooed encounters draw even nature-averse passengers onto their balconies, where they squint through their phones and listen for the famous ‘white thunder’ of calving icebergs, as great towers of ice peel off the glacier’s face into the water. In a stable ice field system, each rumble and splash is exciting evidence of forward movement, of Nature’s dynamic equilibrium. With the system now breaking down, each crashing iceberg felt like another loss.”

+ In The New Yorker, David W. Brown took a slightly longer and less comfortable trip. “I first saw our icebreaker, the RV Araon, when we were due to leave for Antarctica. The largest icebreakers are more than five hundred feet long, but the Araon was only the length of a football field; I wondered how it would handle the waves of the Southern Ocean, and how it would fare against the thick sea ice that guards the last wilderness on Earth. Its hull was painted a cheerful persimmon color, and its bow was conspicuously higher than the rest of the ship, with a curved shape suggesting that icebreakers don’t so much carve through ice as climb and crush, climb and crush.” Journey to the Doomsday Glacier. (Stressful journeys, uncomfortable icebreakers, doomsday scenarios… and with that, we’re ready for the holidays.)