We arrived in Juneau after a long flight on the milk run, stopping in Wrangell and Petersburg on the way to deliver supplies and mail to these smaller outposts. The flights lasted 15-20 minutes each, but the wait at each airport was much longer. I asked if I could get off and take some photos on the tarmac (it was beautiful) and they told me “sure. If you want to be arrested.” So I have some nice pictures of the airplane wing.
Our plan for Juneau was Mendenhall Glacier, Alaskan Brewing Co., hotel, no plan. Since we were making it up as we went, we went and got a cab. While others waited for the cab, Jay and I went to look at maps and see what was up with the Alaskan Brewery, and if we could tour it. Overhearing our mention of tours, the dude maintaining the airport phones hastily bit down on his allen wrench and commented ominously, “There are no tours here.” He sounded oddly like a Scooby Doo villain. Clarifying that we just wanted to checkout the brewery, not to catch a helicopter, he helped us out with directions. Actually, he helped us out a lot, helping us to avoid construction and to find landmarks and better routes as he gnawed on his allen wrench, occasionally waving it it around..
Daylight burning, we eventually got our rental car and headed out in search of food. Lowballing, we’d gotten directions from the lady at the rental agency, which paled in comparison to those received from allen wrench-guy. We ended up eating a sandwich as the enormous Fred Meyer outside of Juneau, which actually was pretty satisfying. Then we went to the Mendenhall Glacier.
The Mendenhall Glacier is one of the most awe-inspiring sites I’ve ever seen. An immense ice flow running down the mountain, feeding Lake Mendenhall, skirted by a waterfall and frozen features, it glowed the most amazing blue.
We hiked out by the lake and got fairly close to the glacier, clowning around and having fun. In the lake there were a number of icebergs, which were pieces of the glacier that had calved fairly recently. There were not many others out there, and nearly everyone was local. At the visitor center, we watched a movie about the glacier and how it is satisfying to the eyes (interesting but odd movie), and talked to the rangers, who seemed very happy to have human contact during the off-season.
We started hiking out around 3pm, as it was beginning to be dusk.