What luck! Off the boat and showers just ended. Juneau is at the foot of steep hills. They hunk over the town like giants about to wake up. I was off in hunt of a door to photograph and a decent cup of espresso. The town has always thrived on travellers, those hunting gold, and now tourists hunting deals on diamond jewellery, tee shirts and other tourist tat. Juneau started out as a native fishing camp, but when a mother lode of gold found in the Silver Bow Basin, history was made and a town born.
The area is dark, foreboding, I always think of Emily Carr’s painting of “Odds and Ends”, and how primordial the forests of the northwest feels in comparison to England’s open forests with naughty Nottingham sheriffs.
The area has old growth trees from 200 to 700 years old. The Sitka Spruce dominates the landscape.
In between shops were steep stairs leading to the streets above and the backs of houses. In the bottom right hand corner of this photograph is a handle to a very heavy rubbish bin lid, bear proofing. Yes, they too come into town, maybe not for an espresso, but rubbish delights. Town only had so much to offer, so it was off to the Mendenhall Glacier.
There is a fabulous trail right down to the Glacier, but pay attention to your time. I was strolling down causally taking photos wondering why on earth everyone was rushing back up towards the top of the trail. I kept thinking why rush back, there’s only another tee-shirt to buy. But then I thoughts, crumbs a bear, how exciting, but no such luck. In the meanwhile….
The scenery was breathtaking, the trail down, reasonably steep. It was incredibly hot for this time of year and it was the old strip off of winter jackets. A few more people rush past me whilst I stopped to admire these three ice calves. Still a distance from the waterfall that I wanted to get to, I noticed that the trail was getting just a tad empty. Maybe there was a bear down there. Never mind eh, this is after all Alaska.
I wanted to stand here forever with the sound of the waterfall just behind me, but then I really noticed no one was about. I looked at my watch and yikes…my bus was going to leave in ten minutes. So there I was racing back up the short trail, which was getting longer by the minute. No longer worried about bears, I kept thinking to myself, it didn’t take that long to get down to the bottom, did it?
It’s funny when you get on a bus full of grumpy people waiting for you to trundle along. All you can really do is smile, repeatedly say sorry, slump down in your seat, catch your breath, and studiously scroll through your photos. Ahem…I did say sorry..but in retrospect this last photo should have given me some clue as to how far I had to walk and with an iPhone and a watch…what excuse could there be? Not even a bear to blame!