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Juneau, AK


So I finally got out the the doldrums of Valdez, Alaska and took the 7am ferry over to Whittier. The ferry (the M/V Aurora) sailed through the Prince William Sound and on the way I got to see the Colombia glacier, and learn about the hilarious hijinks of Cpt. Hazelwood & co.

While in Whittier I got a chance to hike the Portage Pass trail and see Portage Glacier. I met a guy from Homer who told me that when he was a kid it used to extend much further out, but it’s gone back quite a distance. That’s been the story with every glacier I’ve seen, and has been the case since at least the 1800s.

Anyhoo, I ate ice cream at least twice that day waiting for the ferry. Also while waiting I met a few fellow travelers and we became super-friends for the two day cruise over to Juneau. The weather cleared just enough for me to see Mt. St. Elias, which was my main reason for the detour. While on the ferry I learned the rules to cribbage, which was a quite popular game, but I was denied the chance to play, because my potential opponents were afraid of my awesome card skills. 15 for 2, 15 for 4, a run for 7, and a pair for 9. See? I’m a shark.

I’ve become so jaded as to the marine life up here that I don’t bother to get out of my seat for a lousy humpback whale. It takes an orca to get me moving.

So on to Juneau. It turns out that the ferry terminal is 14 miles away from the city, so I was able to get some good exercise to and from the ferry. It was a good chance to utilize some of the calories I’ve been taking in in ice cream and milkshake form. With my two Canadian super-friends, Sarah and Julie, I went for a hike up Mt. Roberts and I got to see the cruise ships in all their splendor. After taking the tram back down the mountain, I got to see the wonderful Juneau public library. While browsing Smithsonian magazine, I learned that the Casbah is falling into ruin. So my shrewd real-estate investing friends, snap it up before it gets all gentrified.

We (the north american friendship gang) had lunch at Valentine’s coffee shop (house?) across from the McDonald’s which I heartily recommend you visit the next time you’re in Juneau. Good pizza, good lighting, and I price that was entirely reasonable. We stayed at the Juneau Hostel, which was a marked improvement over camping in terms, but the midnight curfew and lockout from 9am to 5pm seemed rather severe.

After going all around town, I finally found a place where I could buy a gold pan. Gold fever struck me pretty hard, and Julie and I set out to Gold creek to STRIKE. IT. RICH!!! Our dreams of vast wealth may or may not have been realized with some questionable flakes we pulled out of the creek. I plan to make further use of my gold pan when I make it to Whitehorse, Yukon and the vast gold fields of the Klondike.

So, that’s all for now. I’ll put up pictures when I am able.

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