Juneau, I wish I had known you earlier but I promise to make up for lost time in the future.
We will remember Juneau for so many reasons: listening to the U.S. women win the world cup, camping within walking distance to a glacier (and almost being evacuated because of it), the cruise ship influx, Alaska's crazy governor and our new, loving dog (we named her Juneau).
We hiked to Mendenhall Glacier from Mendenhall Lake campground. Mendenhall Glacier is fed from Juneau Icefield which we know is immense only from satellite images; otherwise it is hidden behind the glacier and mountains. Touch, taste, see, hear and smell a glacier. The kayaking guides at the trailhead warned us that the trail was treacherous and difficult to follow. We are still wondering what they meant-it was not hard, so beautiful and worth it!
|A crazy number of people come and go everyday on these massive cruise ships.|
|Living, green carpet on the hike to Mendenhall Glacier.|
Our Mendenhall Lake campsite was 20 minutes to downtown Juneau, 10 minutes to the ferry AND had power and water. Nice! Our campsite was large, flat and surrounded with wild blueberries. The campground showers were bike-able, clean and mostly hot. We did not see anyone else use the showers but we did meet another traveling couple on our ride back from the showers. They were spending the summer wandering (tent camping) from Florida across the northernmost parts of North America before heading back down to Florida for winter. They were with us at Bartlett cove but we chatted for a long time in Juneau. So many good, friendly people, and interesting stories on our trip. The trip made us more relaxed and extroverted; open to regular, lengthy conversations with complete strangers.
|fresh picked wild blueberry pancakes|
On the food front, we tried Deckhand Dave’s (seafood truck) and the Rookery (cafe). Alaska does not lack deliciousness. We had seafood, ice cream, coffee, beer, baked goods and purchased plenty of groceries. We did not get to all of the bookstores in Juneau but were a little disappointed with the Hearthside Books & Toys which has two locations (we visited both looking for a book Kenedy needed to read for school).
|Latte a la Rookery|
Juneau also has a Costco. We were told by locals to stock up at Costco before heading into the Yukon because the food that we would buy at most of the grocery stores up in the Yukon would probably come from the Juneau Costco anyway. So we filled up the car as full as possible with everything we thought we needed for the long drive ahead.
|Deckhand Dave's and Alaska brews in the outdoor foodcourt.|
I admit I love museums and The Alaska State Museum, in a gorgeous new building, is full of history, culture, art and science. Tucker learned all about World War II and the Aleutian Islands. I took away surprise at the long legacy that Russia had in parts of Alaska and respect for the Alaskan immigrants who made some space to intertwine new Alaskan culture with those of the natives.
|Alaska State Museum|
The Alaska governor probably hates the Alaska State Museum. He is trying to effectively de-fund the Alaska state government including the ferry and schools. We met many Alaskans who were outraged at these ideas. Vote, people, vote!
We packed up camp at Mendenhall Lake just before the campground was evacuated due to anticipated flooding from a glacial outburst. One last slow-paced, peaceful passage on the ferry before we hit the Yukon and the ALCAN.