Juneau is the capital of Alaska and has a population of approximately 33,000. There are no roads that connect Juneau with North America. Most arrive by air or by boat. I arrived via boat – the Grand Princess cruise ship.
Our first stop was at the Mendenhall Glacier. It is beautiful, but sadly is decreasing in size. The visitor center has a time-lapse video that shows how the glacier has been retreating since 2007. It is difficult to appreciate its size from the ground, and according to Wikipedia it is currently 12 miles long. This is my picture, but I recommend checking out older pictures to get the visual of how much less glacier is there today.
If I get the chance to go back, I hope to walk the Icefield that includes Mendenhall.
We also had the fantastic opportunity to watch salmon spawning in a stream near the glacier. I was really there hoping to see a bear. Spawning salmon apparently attracts hungry bears, but no bear sightings that day.
Our final part of the excursion was a whale watching trip in Auke Bay. Our tour came with a money-back guarantee that we would see a whale. And we saw a whale not long after starting, so the skeptical part of me assumed the tour company was feeding the whales to ensure they stay in the area, but maybe not.
Our guide said they don’t normally breach while feeding in Alaska, but we saw it twice. I wasn’t fast enough with my camera – they don’t pause and wait for us humans; but DH got this fantastic shot.
The weather in Juneau was absolutely perfect! I could live here if they actually had this much sunshine on a regular basis. The whale watching trip was awesome. I highly recommend it.