Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mendenhall Lake

You may have deduced by now that I'm blogging our Alaska trip a day-at-a-time. Yesterday was just Sitka; today, the ship docks at Juneau. It is at this point in the journey that our intrepid travelers split up. Hub 1.0 went on a helicopter to walk around on a glacier (the British have this lovely pronunciation of the word: GLASS-ier, as if it were more highly polished than the other furniture), Starman went on a canoe trip on Mendenhall Lake, alongside the glacier, and this little piggy didn't get to go shopping but instead stayed home.

I was supposed to meet up with Sarah, a quilter living in Juneau with her Coast Guard officer husband. She was going to take me to the local quilt shops. But at 1 a.m., I had a violent attack of the Dreaded Alaskan Lurgie, as Starman called it -- some virulent form of gastroenteritis that had me confined to cabin for two days. All the resulting photos, therefore, were taken by Starman. (We also have the photos from Hub 1.0's trip, but I'll have to transfer them over from another computer, and I can't promise it will be in chronological order with the trip.)

But first the ship has to dock in Juneau.


A whale!!

The interpretive storyteller on board, Terry Breen, explained to us more than once why glacier ice is blue, and basically it's the same reason why the sky is blue, as explained to a toddler: Because I said so.

Juneau. A crazy place to put a state capital, as it literally can't be reached except by boat or plane. And the airplane approach is insane, as the imaginary point where the pilot either has to land or pull up is over water and often in the clouds. And if you do pull up, you have to clear the mountains all around, one of which has had all the trees cleared off the top just to keep planes from getting tangled up in them!

Alaska thought hard about moving the capital to the interior, within sight of Mt. McKinley, to a town called Willow, but even though nearly everyone agreed Juneau was a stupid location, the voters decided not to spend the money it would cost to build an entire new capital. What stunned me about this part of John McPhee's book on Alaska, was his recap of how many other states have moved their state capital, in some cases more than once!

Okay, so this is Mendenhall Lake, which can be reached by a bus ride out of town. Starman was on one canoe with some fellow shipmates, while the other canoe had the "grandparents" on it. We never did get the full story, but we gathered that there is (or soon will be) some TV show about grandparents reconnecting with their grandkids. One episode of this show will be about a family on board our ship: grandparents, mom and a couple pretty teenaged daughters. So in the other canoe were the grandparents, the granddaughters, the sound guy, the camera guy, and the guide. Starman figures he'll show up in a background shot at some point in the show...

Yup, I think you can see some of their equipment if you click on the photo.

And that's the glacier! It must be huge; Hub 1.0's helicopter landed and they walked around on the ice and never saw Starman's group on the lake.

One of the pretty waterfalls.

They weren't allowed to go too close to the face of the glacier, so again, it's bigger than it looks.

Glacial ice!


Starman with glacial backdrop!

I personally think this is a great photo.

At which point, they packed up and headed back into town. Starman stopped at a shop and bought me a stuffed bald eagle ("Baldy") as he couldn't get flowers. I then had to send him back out for Immodium and air freshener. He was (as always) a star -- put up with my kvetching and moaning, and hung out with Hub 1.0, who was in full tourist mode.

I have to say again, these two guys are so wonderful and such fun to travel with. If I was in a lousy mood while I was confined to cabin (the ship had rules about people who got sick), it was mostly because I was lonely without them. At the same time, I was glad that they got to do fun stuff. They had earned it!

No comments:

Post a Comment