Juneau, AK June 28, 2018

Our next port stop was in Juneau, the capital of Alaska, pop 31,275.  Juneau lies along the Gastineau Channel at the foot of the snow covered Mount Roberts and Mount Juneau. The mountains give a natural protection against cold winds giving Juneau a milder climate, but also isolates Juneau from the rest of Alaska. The only way to reach Juneau is by ship or plane. It was named the capital in 1906.

In 1880, Joe Juneau and Richard Harris discovered gold in this area which started the first gold rush in Alaska. Juneau and Harris laid claim to the area which they named Gold Creek.  They built a town along the banks and in 1881 gold miners voted to name the town Juneau. IMG_20180628_08261620180628_165922-EFFECTS20180628_165857

From our balcony on the ship we could see the Goldbelt Mount Roberts Tramway which is a five minute ride to the 1,800 foot level of Mount Roberts. We didn’t ride the tram because we really didn’t have time and it wasn’t a clear day so the view from the top wouldn’t have been very good. 20180628_165934

On the way to the boat we past a field of Eagles, we could not believe we were seeing that many Eagles at one time in one area. They appeared to be drying their feathers in the morning sun. DSC_0961DSC_0963

While in Juneau we went on another whale watching excursion along the Gastineau Channel of the Inside Passage.  Remember the rough ride on the Haines excursion? This ride was as smooth as silk. Everyone could comfortably walk around and no fear of seasickness. We were so excited to see several humpback whales, including some breaching. They are really quick and so hard to catch on camera. But Bill and Beth were hard at work getting these great pictures! IMG_2662IMG_2675IMG_2679IMG_2697IMG_2703IMG_2706DSC_0035DSC_0051

We also saw bald eagles, more harbor seals and those lazy sea lions enjoying their day. What a life! DSCN6584DSC_0132DSC_0100IMG_2794

After out boat excursion we went by bus to the Mendenhall Glacier and Visitors Center. The glacier is 13 miles long and 1.5 miles wide at its widest point and is fed by the 1,500 square mile Juneau Icefield. It is one of 38 large glaciers that flow from the Icefield. DSCN6603IMG_2833DSC_0178DSC_0173DSCN6594DSC_0180IMG_2836IMG_2831

Nearby is the lovely Nugget Creek Falls. We really wished we had more time here but we were limited to one hour. DSC_0179

When we returned from our excursion Bill and I grabbed some lunch in town and walked up to the state capitol building. All uphill I might add! Of course we had to continue our goal of touring every state capitol building. There is a running joke among Alaskans about how ugly their state capitol building is and they joke it is the 50th prettiest capitol building in the country. Well, they are right. Unlike other capitol buildings, it did not have a guided tour and had one of the most unfriendly and indifferent greeters at the information desk we have ever encountered. We picked up a self guided tour brochure and walked around. Very little to see. The building was constructed in 1931 and underwent a $36 million dollar renovation in 2017.  Outside the building across the street is a statue of William Seward, former secretary of state under presidents Lincoln and Johnson. Seward played a large role in purchasing Alaska from Russia. IMG_2850IMG_2846IMG_2854IMG_2852

Walking back towards the ship we found a couple of geocaches. DSC_0136DSC_0141DSC_0144

Another great day in Alaska!

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