Thursday, May 10, 2012

Juneau week

Last week was Juneau week. Juneau is the capital city of Alaska and the third largest city in state. It’s located in southeastern part of Alaska and the climate and nature is for sure different than in interior and Fairbanks. We were looking forward to see that part of Alaska and the town surrounded by mountains and water.

Piia left Juneau already on Tuesday, because she had workshops to work in on Wednesday and Thursday. The workshop was about Tongass national forest and climate change vulnerability there. The workshop gathered together different people with different background and interests in Tongass area and climate change impacts and it was very interesting to hear their experience of the things that may be at risk due to climate change.

Julien came on Thursday and we spent the first night at a very nice hotel. The weather on Thursday was exceptional for this area. We saw clear sky and a piece of sun even.

So we took advantage of good conditions and hiked Mt. Robert’s trail that started almost in downtown. So close are the mountains here.

We climbed up in temperal rainforest until snow got too deep.

Up we saw beautiful view of the town, sea and mountains around them. And also a bald eagle!

After finishing that trail we went on and followed one river further. While coming back from the river we saw something moving under picnic table. Julien’s first instinct was A BABY BEAR, in which case we would have been in trouble! But it turned out to be porcupine eating worms or something. It was a nice day, birds singing and good smell of fresh forest in our noses.

Walk around town...

One good thing about the hotel was casualties that we weren’t used to in our cabin at home. Shower, bathtub, television… That was basically all we needed for that night. The other good thing was free popcorn, candy, peanuts and tea/hot chocolate that the hotel offered. I mean huge jars of jelly beans just waiting to be eaten! Piia won’t get over that for a long time…

On Friday morning we enjoyed bagels and (according to the hotel restaurant) Alaskan best cookies. The weather was back to the default mode that is typical for Juneau. Raining. And not just moist foggy rain. I mean RAIN. But we decided to see some cool stuff anyway, so we packed our backpacks and headed to Mendenhall Glacier first by bus and the last 1,5 miles by walking. It was worth it. That glacier was huge, and it was kind of amazing to see where the edge of ice had been before, and where it was now. Talking about climate change…

"I want to sleep in a TENT!"
After hanging around near the glacier and after having enough photos, we had a difficult decision to make. Where to sleep that night? We had the tent with us, but it was raining. I mean RAINING. And plus that the black bear activity was pretty high at that area, which made us a bit nervous. The camping sites were not open, so we headed back to the city and spend our night at another hotel. Well, with lower price comes lower quality. But the bar downstairs was nice with live music.

On Saturday the rain kept going. Stronger if something. There were no trails near (or far) that weren’t covered with snow, so hiking wasn’t possible. So we headed to the Mendenhall Glacier again, this time to the other side of the river. We had nice breakfast at a bus stop...

and then very nice lunch at picnic shelter.

We had good pictures of changing colors of the landscape with clouds, formed by forests, coming and going so low you could almost touch them. The small ice bergs floating on river formed funny figures, and it wasn’t too cold.

After a small hiking along the river the rain took the best of us, and we headed back to town. This night we spend at a restaurant, having good meat or fish burgers, cider and playing pool. And we slept at a youth hostel.

On Sunday it was, well, raining. And I mean RAINING THE WHOLE DAY! We had our breakfast outside after a small hike along the small roads near town.

We faced the fact that actual hiking wasn’t going to happen, so we had to change our plans. So we took some pics...

Then we headed downtown, played pool and ate good stuff. And headed back to the youth hostel.

On Monday (raining), charged with all our bags, we went to eat good muffins at an organic shop, and then we went to a library to work and be dry. And flew back home at night.

In conclusion, Juneau is… MOIST, the downtown is small and nice and the landscape has an interesting ambiance with the clouds and rainforest.  It was a different trip from our other trips, usually a bit more into the wild but we enjoyed some city pleasure as pool and restaurant, nice as well sometimes :D


  1. I'm singing in the rain, just singing in the rain !!!!!
    le vieux con

    1. Everything between Tryo and AC/DC... Maybe that was the reason for raining! :) Kisses to Nellim!!