Welcome to Glenn's Blog!

Here I will periodically post random thoughts and stories about what's going on in my life and the world around me. As if anyone cared. But seriously, you've found your way here, so hopefully you will enjoy at least some of what I have to say, even if you aren't entirely interested in it. At the least, it should be a good way to waste time.

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Friday, August 5, 2016

Alaska!

Southeast Alaska is just a small nub on the tail end of what is an exceptionally massive place, but even this tiny corner seems massive in its scope of raw nature. We've been back just over a week now from spending 8 days in downtown Juneau. We've visited Alaska a few times before, always on cruise ships. You only get to spend a part of one day in each port, which is still nice in itself. But this time we got to explore more of the state capital and dig into its raw and expansive beauty a little bit.

It rained. A lot. Actually, it didn't rain at all the first day we were there. And then it didn't stop. It wasn't a hard rain really, just a consistent one. Every once in awhile it would stop for 15 minutes, or a half hour if you were lucky. But that didn't deter me from getting out there and exploring. We spent a day on top of Mt. Roberts via the tram, another day at Mendenhall Glacier, another at the Glacier Gardens, and toured several museums in the interim days. Not having to hurry back and catch a cruise ship meant that we could take it leisurely, and most nights we were back in the hotel anyway by 7pm. You might think it would be a great area to stay up late and watch the stars. Maybe it is, but we only saw clouds the whole time.

This was Connor's second trip to Alaska, as he went with us on a cruise when he was only eight months old. This is the first trip he might remember. Or if not, at least the 475 photos I brought home will give him an idea. As a 2.5 year old toddler, although he's got an abnormally high amount of energy, he still is only good for about six hours at a stretch before needing a nap. So I got to spend some time exploring on my own while Connor and mommy slept.

Alaska has some of the most beautiful hiking trails I've ever seen. And I only scratched the surface of what's up there, just in Juneau. But on Mt. Roberts I hiked up the trail that heads to the summit. I didn't quite make it to the summit; actually it was hard to tell how close I got, because the fog and most air rendered visibility down to under 30 yards once you got to a certain height. So eventually I had to turn around and head back, while I could still see the trail! The East Glacier at Mendenhall is even more gorgeous, hiking through a temperate rain forest with babbling streams and eventually the river that flows over the cliff, becoming Nugget Falls. Even though visibility was fairly poor this day, it was still gorgeous exploring.

You might be thinking, "Wow, did you run into any bears out in all this wilderness??" Alaska is somehow famous for its wildlife, but I still have yet to see anything bigger than a bald eagle in the port towns. And that's how it was in Juneau this time around. Very little wildlife outside of birds and salmon. Maybe next time...

We also took a day ferry trip to Haines, which is a little town we had never been to. Unfortunately the ferry terminal in Haines is four miles from town, and it just so happens that there's no busses, no shuttles, no taxis, no anything to take you to town. So we walked...until we got picked up by a nice German couple in an RV. They had seen us on the ferry, and felt bad for us I guess as we were pushing the stroller along the two-lane highway. In any case, they graciously offered to give us a lift to town, which we happily accepted. We still had to walk back though, and it was a nice walk, but due to the time it takes, we didn't get to spend more than a couple hours in Haines. I don't think we saw most of it. Or perhaps maybe there's just not much there...

In any case, the trip was good despite occasional problems trying to convince Connor that it was, in fact, bedtime. He did do really well on the plane though, only crying as we descended and his ears were bothering him from the elevation change. We tried to convince him to drink some juice from his sippy cup, knowing the swallowing motion would clear up his ear problem. He didn't quite understand though when we said that drinking would help his ears, as he kept trying to stick the sappy cup IN his ear. Well fortunately that sensation didn't last too long.

I'll pick up with some more specific stories on our adventures next week...