t2.bmp (300054 bytes)  Juneau

Monday September 8, 2014

In 1880, it was slow going for Joe Juneau and Richard Harris as they searched for gold with the help of Native guides. After climbing mountains, forging streams and facing countless difficulties, they found nuggets "as large as beans."

From their discovery came three of the largest gold mines in the world. By the end of World War II, more than $150 million in gold had been mined. Eventually the mines closed, but the town Joe Juneau founded became the capital
of Alaska and the business of gold was replaced by the business of government.

Some 30,000 people live in Juneau. Its total area makes it one of the biggest towns, in size, in the world. Only Kiruna, Sweden, and Sitka, Alaska, exceed Juneau's 3,248 square miles.

Today Juneau is famous not only for gold and government but also for its breathtakingly beautiful glaciers and stunning views of both water and mountains.


Click on a picture to view larger image.

Beautiful shot of the marine layer in Juneau

Marine layer in Juneau

Spout of the humpback whale on the left-hand side of screen.

Fluke of a humpback whale. Can't believe we got the shot!! (It is really difficult to get them to pose.)

Eagle spotted while on our whale watching tour in Juneau.

Eagle spotted on our whale watching tour in Juneau.

Mendenhall Glacier

Mendenhall Glacier

Lou and Carol at Medenhall Glacier

close up shot of Mendenhall Glacier. Glaciers appear blue because the dense ice of the glacier absorbs every other color of the spectrum except blue.

Mendenhall Glacier

Our guide, Corey, during our hike to Mendenhall Glacier.


Excursion:  Alaska's Whales & Mendenhall Glacier Trail

Your small-group wilderness experience ensures a comfortable and interactive atmosphere to make the most of this world-class Alaska experience. You will see first-hand how the habitats of the land and the sea interconnect in southeast Alaska.

Begin with a narrated drive to the famous Mendenhall Glacier. Formed during the Little Ice Age, and reaching its maximum size about 265 years ago, the glacier is fed from an ice field high above Juneau. From across an iceberg-dotted lake you will see the dynamic flowing force, carving its way down the valley. Sustained by the geography and unique climate of the area, Mendenhall Glacier has been able to survive much longer than other glaciers in North America. Its existence continues to provide us with new insights into past, present, and future climatic conditions.

A naturalist guides you along a path once completely covered by the massive glacier. Spend an hour exploring the beautiful trails, breathe in the fresh air that flows off this spectacular river of ice and learn about the Tongass National Forest. Walk under a sheltered canopy and take in the wonders of a rainforest and the many species that make this area their home. Keep an eye out and your cameras ready to spot beavers, eagles, salmon, porcupines, black bears and more. The canopy gives way to the glacier's lake and secluded sandy shoreline with scenic views of the Mendenhall Glacier and Nugget Falls.

A short drive takes you to a picturesque harbor to board your specially designed safari vessel customized to afford up-close viewing of the marine wildlife. The stable, covered vessel sits low in the water, putting you eye to eye with the animals that make their home in these protected waters. Humpback whales are plentiful and spend the summer months feeding on herring and plankton. In the Juneau Humpback Whale Catalog, over 125 individual whales have been identified in these local waters. Binoculars and nautical maps are available for your use on the vessel.

Once whales are sighted, your captain will maneuver the boat to allow for exceptional viewing and photo opportunities. In addition, undersea listening devices may be deployed so that you can hear the whale's unusual "song." You will receive a $100 cash refund from the tour operator at the conclusion of the tour if a whale is not sighted on the trip. In addition to humpback or killer whales, you may see sea lions, Dall's porpoise, harbor seals and sea birds. Keep a camera handy as your vessel drifts quietly to capture the behaviors and antics of Alaska's most notable marine residents.

Upon return to shore, a scenic motorcoach ride will return you to port.




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