On Monday we approached our first port – Juneau. As we got closer, the weather was crisp, the sky was blue and we were in whale watching territory!
Unfortunately, as we arrived in Juneau at 1 PM the weather took a darker and damper turn. But we were expecting it – the forecast had been calling for rain for weeks so it was no surprise and we were ready with our rain jackets and ponchos!
Today we were heading to Mendenhall Glacier, which is well known since it’s so easily accessible. The glacier itself is about 13 miles long, and is retreating – in fact the entire Mendenhall Lake area was previously the glacier itself back in it’s heyday. Although we got rained on a bit, it really wasn’t bad at all.
Next to the glacier is Nugget Falls – which is caused by snow melt from Nugget Glacier, which is no longer visible from where we were – but it’s back there somewhere. The waterfall was running quite full while we were there. It was very impressive, it’s actually 377 feet tall but falls in two tiers of 99 feet and 278 feet. I think we could only see the bottom tier.
We wanted to explore a little bit more before heading into town, so David, Jon and I checked out a bit of a different trail. The coolest part was the moss covered trees, and it was neat to get a different view of the lake and glacier. Had it been later in the season, this was also an area where we may have seen salmon swimming!
After departing Mendenhall Glacier, we headed back into Juneau to walk around town and bit and check out the shops. It was still pretty chilly and damp so we didn’t explore too long, but we did get a good taste for the town and got to see some of the local artwork, which I love!
We were back on the ship well before we left port (10 PM) and actually had a reasonably early dinner. Early enough to finish in time for an epic sunset (at 9 PM!!) before we headed over to the evenings comedy show… although “Pip” left a bit to be desired… A magical end to our first true day exploring Alaska.