Juneau: Sea Kayaking and Mendenhall Glacier

Our second port stop was Juneau, the Alaskan State capital.  Juneau is not accessible by road, only by boat and plane. It is a special place and I wish we’d had more time to spend here. 

   
We made the best with what little time we had.  Jeff and I went on a kayaking adventure on Fritz Cove, on Auke Bay, overlooking the Mendenhall Glacier.  

We were blessed with dry, sunny weather and glass like waves.  We viewed over a dozen bald eagles from our kayaks, each eyeing the spawning salmon, and we also spotted a curious harbor seal coming toward our kayak. 

    
   
  After our informative bus tour back to the boat, we had a lunch and headed back out to hike the Mendenhall Glacier.  Deterred from the pricey cruise-promoted excursions, Jeff and I frantically searched for and found the public bus stop ($2 each, versus $30 each), endured an hour long ride through the outskirts of Juneau, and dropped off one mile outside of Mendenhall Glacier/Tongass National Forest.  We then walked the mile plus into the park, arriving at 5 pm and stressing about returning to the cruise ship by the strict 9 pm departure time.   

Immediately, I knew it was worth it when we saw a mama black bear and her two cubs eating salmon and resting by a river near the entrance.  

     
 We also hiked to Nugget Falls, near Mendenhall glacier.  We marveled at the beauty of this glacier, and the realization that the glacier is on the move! By 2025, it’s predicted that the glacier will no longer be viewable from this observation point! 

   

  

 After high-tailing it to the falls and back, Jeff and I hurried back to the bus stop.  After waiting for 30 minutes, we flagged down a cab and shared a ride with a German couple, also returning from hiking the glacier and stressing to get back to their cruise ship by 9.  

Thanks to the cab ride, we even had time to walk around the shops in downtown Juneau, see the under-construction Capital Building, and enjoy the beauty of this charming harbor city.

We enjoyed in-room dining on the boat and went to bed early, preparing for tomorrow’s stop: Skagway! 

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