All Ashore for Juneau

On the fourth day, let there be land. Islands popped up out of the ocean, and long stretches of hills and mountains took shape under puffy white clouds and blue sky. Spouts of water shot up from the surface of the water and dark shapes rolled out of and back into the water. Although they weren’t close enough to get a good shot, we enjoyed watching for the puffs of water that signaled whales were near.

Whale spout and a little itty-bitty piece of tail
One of the many islands along the Chatham Straight

The ship pulled up to the pier at 1:30 p.m. and the first thing we saw were eagles flying around from tree to tree, gliding on thermals, and landing on buildings and light poles. We had never seen so many eagles in one place before.

Shimmying in place
Tie ‘er up boys
Eagles, eagles, everywhere. Wish they would have posed for a crisp photo.

I think all the passengers had cabin fever like us because it took us forever to get off the ship. Something must have happened to cause the delay, but we never heard. We selected a guided hike through a rainforest to see Mendenhall Glacier for our excursion.

Rainforest trail to Mendenhall Glacier on the Powerline Trail

We couldn’t have asked for a better day to take a rainforest hike. Prepared for showers, we soon stuffed our jackets in our backpacks. The high school student who served as our guide taught us about the different plants in the rainforest and about the glacier. It was interesting to hear her perspective on the receding glacier that differed from that which environmentalists espouse. If it hadn’t been for the melting of the glacier, there would be no rainforest, and some residents in Juneau love their rainforest as much as the glacier. I’m not sure who is right or wrong, but I’m positive time will provide the answer.

Section of a one-mile pipe that carried water from Nugget Creek to Nugget Creek Powerhouse.
Steep Creek
This shelter was erected by the Civilian Conservation Corp sometime between 1934 and 1940
This photo shows Mendenhall Glacier not far from the building and no rainforest
Markers show where the ice was in 1916 and 1936. They were about a football field distance from each other. Then we kept walking for quite a while.
Mendenhall Glacier from the trail

We wanted to get a closer look at the lake and the waterfall, but we barely had time to visit the facilities before catching our bus back to town.

Mendenhall Glacier from the visitor center. Helicopters land behind the foot of the hills for a close-up adventure on ice.

We also wanted to take the Mount Roberts Tramway, but it had closed by the time we returned to town after our hike.

At the top visitors find a restaurant, gift shop, and plenty of trails to explore.

We finished off our day in Juneau with a cedar plank salmon dinner with green beans at Twisted Fish Company. They serve up a casual atmosphere and great food. We couldn’t have asked for more, and it was nice to eat something that didn’t come from the ship.

Back on board, we pulled away from the pier at 10:00 p.m. Next stop on the cruise was Skagway.

Safe Travels

4 thoughts on “All Ashore for Juneau

      1. Of all the destinations available, Alaska and a European river cruise are the only ones that offer any appeal to me at all. But…. not yet.

        I’m glad you guys had a great time though! Go for the gusto!


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