Saturday, June 23, 2007

On Wednesday we were in Juneau. Juneau was kind of a weird experience for me, because it reminded me so much of the area where I grew up. If it weren't surrounded by glaciers on one side and a channel of the inside passage on the other, it would feel a lot like Greenfield, Massachusetts. No kidding.

Here are some example of vegetation from the beginning fo the bike ride I did in Juneau:

These were shot on the University of Alaska campus. You could find virtually identical shrubbery in Northfield. They even have skunk cabbage. It's kind of weird. The bike trip was called the Bike&Brew tour. I wasn't interested in the brew part, but I thought a bike ride, even a guided bike ride, would really hit the spot. I was right.

Apparently since the seventies it's been the law that if you build a new road in Alaska, there has to be a bike lane. So there are tons of bike lanes, and bike paths, and they're actually really nice. The longest distance from Juneau that you can get on a road is 40 miles, so there is really nowhere in Juneau that you can't get on a bicycle. Although I imagine you'd freeze your butt off trying to get out to the end of the road on a bicycle in the dead of winter.

We stopped for lunch on the south end of the lake that's at the base of the Mendenhall Glacier (I didn't ask what it was called). One of the tour guides shot a picture of me in my bicycle shirt, which shows off my potbelly quite nicely. There were firemen visiting the park. I love that Juneau, with a population that's probably less than Greenfield (50k) has fire trucks that say "Capitol City" on them. I mean, it's true - it just feels a little weird - I'm used to "Capitol City" being big and grimy with lots of tall buildings. I suspect the tallest building in Juneau is about six or seven stories.

I really like this rock - this is showing off the macro capabilities of our new camera, I guess. The patterns you see are grind patterns from the Mendenhall Glacier when it was covering more of the lake, probably during the Little Ice Age. You see a lot of mashed rock around the glaciers. Glacieti non carborundum, etc.

This is the ice field above the Mendenhall Glacier, and some lovely seracs at the lake below the glacier. The glacier calves directly into the lake, as you can see.

This is a little jetty that sticks out into the lake, covered in lupine:

And there's a babbling brook that runs along the roadside on the way to the parking lot. I didn't really get any shots of the prettiest part, where the brook had flooded its banks and was just flowing through the forest, but this is fairly pretty.

By the way, if you aren't drinker, and you go on the bike and brew, you might try to get a shuttle from the visitor's center at the Mendenhall Glacier (tip your guides off that you're going to do this so that they don't hunt for you for hours!). Or a cab. Cabs aren't cheap in Juneau, but I wound up having to sit around for about an hour or so after the bike ride because the brewery brews about nine different kinds of beers, and people wanted to try them. It's not a brewpub, so it's not like you can drink a glass of ice tea and have a garden burger with fries while you wait (this was the fantasy I'd built up prior to arrival at the brewery).


Blogger Francis Heybrook said...

Nice photos, looked like a greta trip up to the northern glaciers. I hope to get to the ones at the other end of the american continent.

Friday, November 16, 2007 12:54:00 AM  

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