Return to Cruise Start Page

Alaska Inland Passage Cruise
Juneau - September 23, 2010

click on a picture to get a larger view

IMG_1994.JPGMendenhall Glacier is in Juneau. When we saw it last it was an incredible sight so we decided that it was worth a 2nd visit. We were sooooooo right! It had calved (when a piece of the ice drops off the front of the glacier) the day before and we could see the incredible deep blue of the inner glacier. It is "dead" center on this picture.

It was lovely to see the foliage changing colors.

IMG_1996.JPG The ship has a naturalist on board as a guest speaker. He was a retired professor from Sacramento State who gave a series of lectures on glaciers and their formation in addition to some other topics. Between the naturalist and the information center at Mendenhall we were fortunate to be able to "look" with more informed eyes.

There are a series of pockets of glacier water near by. In fact there are frequent bear sightings as they come down to the waters edge.

IMG_1998.JPG This picture gives a good view of the depth of the glacier. The beach is made up of glacier silt - finer than most sandy beaches.
IMG_2010.JPG The waterfall on the right side of the picture is relatively new. It was exposed as the glacier recedes. While the waterfall was there when we last visited, it was barely there when Robin and her parent visited in the 1980's. IMG_2012.JPG Lots of little ice flows that have broken off the face of the glacier. IMG_2014.JPG Lots of interesting land formations from where the glacier as receded. There are all the little bays.
IMG_2016.JPG There are very rounded granite rocks that have been smoothed by the glacier. These have first generation plant growth on them now. IMG_2018.JPG Some of the rocks are not as smooth with their own little gullys. The moss is a testament to the tenacity of plant life. IMG_2027.JPG Juneau is on the mainland but is not easily accessible. There is a channel that runs between it and Douglas Island. They keep the channel dug to allow cargo (and cruise) ships to dock at Juneau.
IMG_2023.JPG The tour also included a visit to this sustainable wild salmon fish hatchery. It started as a science experiment and now is one of the largest of the wild salmon hatcheries. Is was the very end of the season, but we did get to see some of the salmon climbing the ladder and spawning. The hatchery also has a lovely aquarium exhibit of local marine life. IMG_2036.JPG The last stop on the tour was a Salmon Bake (see picture below). The are on a plot of land that was a gold rush mining site. There is a very short (less than 5 minute) walk to visit their creek, waterfall and old mining equipment. You can see why this part of Alaska is a rainforest. IMG_2048.JPG The gully with the waterfall just seems to go for miles into the surrounding hills.
IMG_2045.JPG Waterfall and equipment. I wonder if there is a cave behind the waterfall ?????????? IMG_2054.JPG The creek also is a salmon run, although Will saw few salmon in the creek. IMG_2044.JPG The old equipment is "strewn" about the site. While I am sure some of it has been strategically placed, it is still interesting to see the all the equipment that was necessary to run even a small mining operation.
IMG_2040.JPGThe fungus growing at the foot of the trees is fascinating to me. It looks like something from science fiction. IMG_2041.JPG Could not resist a picture of all the layers of plant growth. Truly a rain forest.

IMG_2059.JPG Salmon Bake! We came here 10 years ago and it hasn't changed. They bake salmon on large grills over alder wood. They have their own proprietary sauce that is applied during the grilling. They have a buffet with side dishes and blueberry cobbler for dessert. Yummy!!!!!

Returned to town and walked around the shops for a bit. Made a purchase of a rex rabbit scarf at one shop as it was closing for the season. It was just waiting for me. Loved all the glacier colors as well as the design of the scarf. Warm too!


All rights reserved 2010 by Robin Berry and William Ringer