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