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Trail Blazing in Juneau

semi-overcast 60 °F

Juneau is truly an outdoor enthusiast’s playground. Just about every sporting activity is found here and with a backdrop of snowcapped mountains and the massive 1,500 square mile Juneau Icefield, it doesn’t get much better. Juneau is a modest sized city of about 30,000 people and the heart of the town sits nestled at the foot of Mt. Roberts and Mt. Juneau.


While in Juneau my husband and I basked in the endless outdoor opportunities. We started bright and early with a trip to the Mendenhall Glacier where we made our way up the East Glacier Trail. This trail runs about three miles round trip and offers spectacular views of the glacier and the Mendenhall Lake. My husband and I have done quite a bit of hiking and my only fear is that we will one day cross paths with a bear. In particular I dread running into a protective mother bear with her frisky cubs. Signs all over the park warned us of the danger of bears, hikers carried bear mace and whistles, and others had bells dangling from their legs in hopes of warning the bears of their presence. All these precautions only intensified my already deep rooted fear. Thankfully, the entire day passed and not a single bear was seen. We completed our trip to the Mendenhall Glacier by walking the interpretive trail which wraps around the lake at the base of the glacier.


We next refueled in town before hiking up Mt. Roberts. This steady but steep hike took us up 1,800 feet into the alpine. Mt. Roberts can also be reached by a short, expensive tram ride, but it was much more rewarding to break a sweat and earn our trip to the top. At the end of the hike we took in the sweeping views of Juneau and Douglas Island and explored the Interpretive Center. On our return to Juneau we hitched a “free” ride down on the tram by spending $5 in the gift shop. It definitely saved our legs and the ride was spectacular.


We finished up our day in Juneau with a walking tour of the city. Walking amongst the crowded streets of Juneau we watched cruise ship passengers browse the same souvenir shops, selling the same trinkets found in every tourist area, and we began to feel a bit discouraged. Traveling is the ultimate way to learn about different cultures, participate in new activities, and enjoy locally made food. I encourage every traveler to step outside their comfort zone into new and uncharted territory for this is where true travel takes place. We may be traveling by cruise ship, but this is no excuse to cop out on authenticity, life changing journeys can occur anywhere and by any mode of transportation. With that we travel North to Skagway where we will continue our Alaskan adventures!

Posted by Jennylynn 08:00 Archived in USA Tagged cruises

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