Michelle and I got up early on Tuesday. After a bowl of oatmeal and a cup of coffee, we were off for another adventure in Juneau, Alaska. We walked a couple blocks to catch the #4 bus to take us 7 miles to downtown (for $2 cash).

Bill and Michelle by totem poles in downtown Juneau, Alaska

Here we are downtown. A very nice couple visiting from Japan offered to take our picture by these totem poles. These were done by the Tlingit (pronounced “Click-It”) people. Later in the day, we talked to a member of the Tlingit and got to watch another member of the tribe work on a totem pole. He said a common misconception was that indigenous people worshiped the poles. Instead, they were and are created to commemorate ancestry, histories, people, or events. Some totem poles are topped with either an eagle or a raven in the Juneau area.

Note in this picture we have our jackets on. The high/low temperature on Tuesday in Juneau was 56/52. We had scattered light showers and drizzle. It was the 11th time in 13 days that Juneau had measurable rainfall.

View from the top of the tram – we’re nearly 2,000 feet above the Gastineau Channel. On the other side of the channel is Douglas Island. There is one bridge connecting the island to the mainland and downtown Juneau. Cruise ships come down the Gastineau Channel and stop at Juneau.
Cruise ship docked at Juneau, Alaska 7 19 22

The cruise ships that frequent summer waters in SE Alaska are huge. The largest ships are up to 1,000 feet long with 10 to 15 decks. Larger ships can have a very wide range of passengers, anywhere from 1,600 to more than 4,000. South Haven and Otsego both have populations of around 4,000.

In downtown Juneau, there are several blocks of shops, stores and restaurants that cater to the cruise tourists. There was one stretch of about 20 relatively small jewelry stores, pretty much all in a row. Trying to compete, some of them offered a free charm to those who came into the store. Some had a person at the door urging people to come in.

We saw some very pretty items and I bet some of you are wondering if I bought something to take home to Mrs. Steffen. Well, if I did, I’d want it to be a total surprise to her. Sometimes, she reads my blog. So, if you’re asking if I bought something sweet and romantic and made out of silver to bring home to Gayle…all I can say is I have no comment.

We took the tram up the mountain east of Juneau. Look at the view! You can see the solid low overcast, sometimes obscuring the higher mountains with lower clouds forming and moving up the mountain. It was in the low 50s at the top of the tram. Despite the chill, we would have eaten outside here if it were not raining lightly. We did eat inside – splitting a halibut dinner.

Bill Steffen on the Mount Roberts Trail – view from the first deck

This was the view from the first deck. Here, you’re about 2,000 feet above the channel. You can see a cruise ship to my right in the channel below.

There is a second deck farther up the trail that overlooks a valley. You can see patches of snow and small rivers of water cascading down the mountain. You could hear the waterfalls even though they were probably 1/4 to 1/3rd mile away.

Cross on the Mount Roberts Trail – Juneau, Alaska

The trail is 7.6 miles and it’s a pretty steep climb. Plan on about 7 hours to complete the hike. Father Brown was an avid hiker and when a trail association was organized, he volunteered to help. He was part of the group that established this trail and he brought a cross up to this point, overlooking the channel and town below. The original cross has been replaced many times.

If you go farther (and higher) on the trail you come to a wind sock. You might have seen a wind sock at a smaller airport. They show us both the direction and give you a guess as to the speed of the wind.

The trail was getting steeper and the rocks and dirt were wet. At that point we decided to turn around and head back down the mountain.

We stopped in the city for a “first mate” dinner of Alaska halibut and salmon. More of our adventure tomorrow.