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Thu 19-Jun-2014 Alaska, Travel | 0 comments | Map

Mendenhall Glacier

Mendenhall Glacier

On this beautiful, sunny day we headed to Mendenhall Glacier. The views from the visitor center are outstanding and the 10-minute movie they show about glaciers and climate change in general is well-done. But the people – so many of them – arriving by the bus load from the cruise ships! We quickly found the East Glacier trail and left most of them behind. The hike (about 3.5 miles) takes you up about 600 feet to views of the lake and glacier. It was well worth doing, but I wish it had gotten us even closer to the glacier; I imagine it once did, but the glacier has retreated considerably since the trail was designed.

Next we headed to Mount Roberts in downtown Juneau. The plan had been to hike up the 2-mile trail and take the tram down, but David’s knee was bothering him, so we took the tram both ways (at ridiculous expense). The views of Juneau and Douglas Island from the tram and the top are amazing. We completed about a mile of loop and spur trail at the top before heading back down.

Juneau was a very busy place with four cruise ships in town. Those ships add between 8000 and 10000 people to the population of a town of 31,000.

We had some fun entertainment when we returned to our campsite. Our site has water on both sides as it is situated between Mendenhall Lake and a beaver pond. A couple of families of ducks were in the beaver pond when a juvenile bald eagle began to attack the ducks. He was soon joined by a second eagle. An eagle would soar down from a tree toward the ducks. With each attack the adult ducks would flap their wings and splash water causing the eagle to divert upwards (see series of photos). This went on for probably an hour by which time it was getting dark and the eagles seemed to give up. It was better than watching TV for after-dinner entertainment.