5/17: Mendenhall Glacier

17May-24Mendenhall Glacier is one of the main attractions in Juneau.  It is about a 30 minute drive from downtown, and it is odd to see a large glacier so close to a residential community.  It was raining when we arrived, but stopped soon and we were able to get a good view of the glacier.  We took the one mile Nugget Falls Trail to a large waterfall near the glacier.  There were very few people around, no doubt because of the weather and because it was so early in the season.

A word about viewing photos: Clicking on most of the individual photos will bring up a slightly larger version.  Photos in a gallery can also be enlarged – see instructions in the text preceding the gallery in this post.

Our first view of Mendenhall Glacier; it was a dull day for photos, but we still found this to be a beautiful place to visit:



There is a nice new Visitor’s Center, which we thought we would visit after our walk.  Unfortunately, it started raining again, so we never made it inside.

Mendenhall Glacier's Visitor's Center


We noticed how different the views were, depending on which way you looked.  Turning away from the glacier, you’d never guess there was a frozen wall of ice just a mile away:



We decided to do the Nugget Falls Trail – this is an easy 1 mile walk along a gravel path.  We didn’t see any bears, although sightings had been reported during the previous days.  It kept threatening to rain, but didn’t start until we were almost back to the parking area.


A bear had been seen earlier in the week

You can see how few people there were at the glacier – we saw just three other couples on the trail.  Later in the season, a common complaint is it’s so crowded you can’t enjoy the serenity of this special place.



Lou enjoyed taking photos of the glacier, but he prefers to focus on smaller details – like this little bird on the side of the path:



We hung out at the glacier and falls area for about half an hour, just soaking up the strange atmosphere.  We don’t see many glaciers in Florida:




Reluctantly, I even posed for a photo in front of Nugget Falls:



Here are a few more photos from our visit to the glacier



We finished out the day by doing a driving tour, taking a brief walk through town, napping, and dinner.  It was raining all afternoon and evening, so we didn’t feel like being outside.  Dinner was at Zen, the “Asian-fusion” restaurant at The Goldbelt;  Lou had lamb and I had halibut – both prepared with an Asian flare.

We couldn’t resist one short walk across to the dock, where we would board the Wilderness Discoverer the next afternoon.  It was enroute to Juneau, but the Wilderness Explorer was still at the dock:


Categories: Alaska, Introduction

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