Our last visit to Juneau was in July; the time of year that tricks people into moving up there. It was 75 degrees, sunny, cool, with 20 or so hours of daylight every day. This visit, in April, was the exact opposite. It either rained a steady and thick mist, or dropped giant snowflakes the whole week. The temperature hovered around freezing. It never really looked like daytime.
I am not the outdoorsman that I was when I was younger, but still, you go to Alaska, you have to get out and hike, right? So I did. I made two nice hikes, about two miles from our friend's house, both at a lovely US Forest Service park that surrounds the Mendenhall Glacier. I hiked there a little bit last visit too. This is what it looks like in the summer:
Pretty, huh. A gigantic glacier swoops down from the Juneau Icefield where its retreat has left a beautiful lake. To stand at this spot in July and take a picture feels like standing in front of a huge air conditioner vent. My host, Mr. Gottschlich works for Temsco in the summertime and leads groups of tourists on Helicopter tours of the Glacier. Nice gig!
This is the same spot in April:
As you can see, the lake is totally frozen, the mountain tops are covered by snow clouds, and you wish you would have worn a warmer coat.
The day this picture was taken, it was actually warm enough that it was raining instead of snowing, and the ice on the ground was melting. I hit the trail and managed to make it about a mile and a half when I ran into this:
Hard to tell from the picture, but it slopes uphill pretty steep, and right to left pretty steep. There is a steady stream of meltwater running across the icy path, and nothing on either side of the trail to hold on to. I decided to retreat and come back another day.
Finally, on our last full day in AK, Miss J decided to spare me another trip to Fred Meyer and let me go out in the woods again. Lucky for me, this is what I saw when I walked outside:
Frisbee sized snowflakes. The trail will not be icy today! The only problem was the footprints were snowed under and I had a hard time following along. Here are a few pictures of things I noticed along the way:
Moss Covers Everything
Glacier and Waterfall from above
Nugget Creek Trail
East Glacier Trail
This is looking almost straight up at the sun shining down the side of the mountain