Day 6: Juneau is a cute city. Much larger than Ketchikan, but certainly would not constitute a ‘large city’. Our tour didn’t leave until 1:30 so we were able to sleep in, have a nice breakfast in the dining room, and take a stroll over to the Mount Robert Tram. This was the traditional cable car taking you up a sheer evergreen mountain up to a nature center. We got amazing views of the city. The tram was $29 per adult, but I still highly recommend it. Unfortunately, the day before had so much snow that most of the trails were still closed. We took a nice hike around the mountain, got some amazing pictures of waterfalls, and had a section of the trail that we had to hike through the snow. We were not dressed for the weather. My tennis shoes were not designed for ice. Even still, it was 85 degrees out, which made it too hot to wear my long-sleeved shirt. Some guys from the Philippines took their shirts off and wrestled in the snow! Back at the nature center, they had a rescued bald eagle, Lady Baltimore, who was available for pictures. It was a great site, and should not be missed!
We headed back to the cruise ship for lunch (why pay for extra meals when we are on a budget?) before meeting our guide on the dock. He happened to be from Murrieta, which is 45 minutes from my hometown! We went to a rainforest garden, privately maintained by a local landscaping family, which allowed for even more amazing pictures! From there, he took us to a salmon hatchery where we sampled caviar and smoked salmon while learning about rehabilitation efforts (ironic, I know!) but had to leave early due to a special event. Apparently, someone decided to actually get married at the salmon hatchery! I suppose that could be romantic…
Finally, we were dropped off and Mendehall State Park, which offered a nice 15 minute hike to a glacier and waterfall! This was incredible! We stood on the beach in 80-degree weather, with little kids swimming around us, while we listened to a 200’ waterfall blowing out pure white water and watched icebergs float by! We listened to the famed ‘white thunder’, which is the sound a glacier makes when chunks break off. It really sounds like thunder! No National Geographic special could ever compare!
On our way back to the bus, we stopped by the visitor’s center where we could touch a 200-year-old block of ice, learn about how glaciers were formed, and admire local taxidermists (hehe). Beau used their telescopes (free to use!) and found a mother and baby mountain goat running down the mcliff above the waterfall! We did not get enough time to spend there. If a family had kids, I might recommend taking a shuttle straight to the glacier park and spend most of the day on the beach and at the visitor’s center!
Making it back to Juneau, I forgot that I had turned off my phone’s roaming, so I couldn’t figure out why I had no service! We found a place with free Wi-Fi in downtown Juneau at a local bar. We were kicked out of the downstairs part, because it was apparently reserved for betting on the fight. Upstairs was more like a pool hall with bar service and had free Wi-Fi, which allowed me to update Facebook.
By the end of the day, we were too tired to move. We ate at the buffet and retired early.