Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Juneau, Alaska

When Bert was first hired to fly for Alaska Airlines, my first question was, "When can we go to Juneau?" Four years later, I am so happy that we were finally able to go.

My family moved up to Juneau when I was 7 years old. Most of my childhood memories are of Juneau. Life was simple then, the woods were our backyard, and the beach was our front yard. I remember hiking in the Summer and sledding in the Winter. There was nowhere else to go because Juneau is landlocked, and only accessible by boat or plane, but I didn't know the difference. There wasn't even a McDonald's up there at the time.

I was 12 when we moved back to Washington to be closer to the rest of our family. I was so excited to live near my grandparents again, but it wasn't an easy transition for me. We settled in Gig Harbor, and I had to go to a new school in the middle of 7th grade. I was very shy and never really felt like I fit in. I realized I was a geek and didn't wear the right clothes. In Juneau I had been very "fashion forward".

Here is a picture of my family circa 1977 in Juneau. Notice the daring mix of colors and textures in my beach ensemble, what awesomeness.



THURSDAY, AUGUST 26th




Bert had a few days off at the end of August, so we/I decided to visit Juneau for 5 days and 4 nights. We were able to sit together on the airplane which was a treat because that usually doesn't happen when we fly standby. My eyes may have started leaking as we approached Juneau, but then again it may have been allergies.

It was a typical Summer day in Juneau, overcast and misty. We pick up our rental car and checked into our motel. It was early afternoon, so we drove out to the Mendenhall Glacier.







Nathan fished some ice out Mendenhall Lake. Travis might have ate some of it. We decided to hike out to Nugget Falls.





Marcus and I were always out in front scaring the bears away for the family.





Bert and Nathan were always bringing up the rear. Travis would go back and forth between us.







Nugget Falls was covered in ice when I lived in Juneau I don't remember it at all. The glacier has really receded since then too.





I had forgotten our water bottles in our room. The boys were very thirsty.





We drove a Camry while we were up there, which caused much brotherly closeness and bickering. Marcus drove his brothers nuts in the car, and almost everywhere else.


FRIDAY, AUGUST 27th




Our first full day was spent in downtown Juneau. I really wanted to take the tram up to Mount Roberts. The tram was built about 14 years ago and is right by where all the cruise ships dock in Juneau. It was expensive for the whole family to do, but we loved it.

My family climbed Mount Roberts a couple of times while we lived here. Mount Roberts, Mount Juneau and downtown Juneau were our view every time we looked out our living room window.



The view of two of my former homes across the Gastineau Channel on Douglas Island.




We got a kick out of this sign. I told Travis it was a good thing he isn't a Bear in Cub Scouts anymore.





Up we go!







Downtown Juneau





At the top





Lady Baltimore was shot by poachers and is now blind on one eye. She is unable to live in the wild now, so she spends the Summers up on Mount Roberts.





We hiked up the mountain a while to get a better view.













Marcus got tired.







Mount Juneau in the background





A view of where we were going the next day, Sandy Beach.







After we got back down, we explored the shops. Downtown Juneau is really geared around the tourists and cruise ships. I couldn't believe how many jewelry stores there were all in a row. It has really changed. There were some other nice shops too, but I'm not into touristy gift shops. The only souvenirs I like to buy are Christmas ornaments. They don't take up much room, don't cost too much and it is fun to remember our vacations when we are decorating the tree.







We spent an hour in the Alaska State Museum. I wish we had had more time, but it closed earlier that we thought it would.







For dinner, we took the tram back up Mount Roberts and ate at the restaurant up there. It was really nice.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 28th




After eating an over-priced breakfast the morning before, we ate cereal and yogurt in our room. Then we drove over the bridge to Douglas Island.



Our first home at the Bo apartments





Our second home at the Admiralty Apartments







Our last home, a condo above the Admiralty Apartments







My school 2nd-6th grade





After my short trip down "memory lane" we went to Sandy Beach. The sand on the beach is actually crushed rocks from the gold mines. The miners dumped it on the beach and created "Sandy Beach".



We hiked beind the beach to see the remains of the Treadwell Mine.













At the top of the trail is a glory hole. A huge hole in the ground blasted by the miners. There was a chain link fence in front of the hole to keep dumb tourist from falling in and dumb locals from dumping their cars down the hole.

We wanted a better look, so we climbed up a hill covered with tree roots that made it easier to climb. It was just like I remember doing as a kid.



When we were all up there I suddenly TURNED INTO MY MOTHER!!!! I remembered that I am scared of heights and having my kids walking up there on the edge of a glory hole freaked me out. I had to go back down, and Bert sent Marcus down too, because he was freaking Bert out too. I didn't feel OK until everyone was back down.



Nathan likes posing for the camera.





Marcus like to copy Nathan.











The Treadwell Mine Office Building







The cave-in that eventually ended mining in the area in 1917



There was more mine artifacts to see, but Marcus was hungry and cranky. We ate lunch at a little pub on the island. The food was so good, expensive, but delicious.



After lunch we went back to the mainland and to Twin Lakes Park. Marcus and Travis loved it.



I taught Nathan how to play hopscotch.





The boys messing around







SUNDAY, AUGUST 29th



Nathan turned 15 on our last day in Juneau. We didn't have any major plans for the day, but we found some fun things to do.



We started the day at a salmon hatchery. The boys enjoyed touching small, slimy sea creatures.





All the hiking we had done for the last couple of days had done wonders for my figure.





A worker at the salmon hatchery gave us directions to a local creek where wild salmon were spawning. We followed our noses to the location. Nathan wanted to swing on the flimsy looking rope swing over the creek full of stinky, dead fish. We talked him out of it.





Some locals told us that we might be able to watch bears feeding on salmon out at the glacier, so we headed back out to the Medenhall glacier.



The creek out at the glacier had spawning coho salmon in it. They turn red when they enter fresh water. We also saw a beaver dam, but no bears.







I wish we had asked someone take a picture of the whole family on our trip, but I forgot to do it.



Our church in Juneau. My dad was the local architect for the building.





My dad also designed the downtown fire station along with many other buildings in the area.





We had a wonderful time on our little trip. I asked the boys what they had liked the most about Juneau.

Nathan- the glory hole

Travis- the glory hole

Marcus- the swimming pool at our motel

5 comments:

Stacie said...

I love it. I feel as though I was there with you. Missing your more frequent blogs...do it more, please!

Place Family said...

Diane, you are so funny!!! I love the family picture when you were younger and the one with you and Burt behind the bodies...Loved it all. Great blog post.

Linda Johnston said...

Looks like you had a wonderful time. I am so glad you were able to go. What a great trip. I love your family picture when you are little. Really loved reading your post!

Nerell said...

Looks like you had a fantastic time! Glad that you were able to go back and show your family your childhood memories!

Moss Family 82 said...

Lol! Marcus and the swimming pool. I'm glad you finally got to go back to Alaska. Next time...no kids.