Alaska – Aug 31 – Juneau

Today is a very long port day: 8:00 am – 10:00 pm. The weather calls for rain but you never know. In 1880, two prospectors – Richard Harris and Joe Juneau – struck gold in this area and thus started the Alaskan gold rush. Juneau was first named Harrisburg, then Rockwell, and finally Juneau. In 1906, the capital of Alaska was moved from Sitka to Juneau. The city is between Mount Juneau and Mount Roberts. It is home to Mendenhall Glacier and is known for whale watching.

Last year, we did a whale watching tour and had a great time. Today we hope to take the tram up to Mount Roberts and hike some of the trails. Depends on the weather. We may just end up taking a city tour.

Update – After a breakfast in the dining room where we sat with one couple with whom we had lunch with the other day and then another couple from New Mexico, we put on our rain gear and headed out. It was raining but not too hard. We bought tickets for the Mt Roberts tram to take us up. We went through the clouds to the top. Since it started to rain a little harder, we decided to only walk the ½ half mile loop trail from the nature center. We had thought about taking the trail from the trailhead in town and go up but it is 2 miles and the weather was just not cooperative.

The nature trail was a nice easy trail with only an elevation change of 150 ft. The rain was not too annoying. The longest trip which would be 6 miles round trip to Roberts Peak that was a 1900 ft elevation change and estimated to take 6 – 7 hours. We were certainly not equipped for that trail – not to mention the distinct possibility of bears. Mt. Roberts was mined for gold from 1897 to 1944. The rock that was dug up looking for the gold makes up the land that most of Juneau is built on at the Gastineau Channel. Before it closed, the mine produced over $80 million in gold.

After the hike, we watched the movie explaining the history of the Tlingit people. Their clans are the Eagles and the Ravens. They traded with Russians and then with Americans. They were almost wiped out from diseases brought in by the Russians.
After the movie, we paid a visit to Ms. Liberty, the injured bald eagle. She had been shot and was blind in one eye and one wing injured so she has to stay at the facility. They estimate her to be 17 years old. She graciously posed for a picture.

Once we came down, we walked back to the ship and had some lunch from the Lido. Finishing, we donned our rain gear again and took a trolley tour around the city. There were 2 stops (Fish hatchery and capital museum) that you could get off and then wait for another trolley but it was late in the day so we opted to stay on. He did let us off for pictures at whale park which depicts a huge sculpture of a breaching whale. Periodically, water flows out around it and spews up. We did see two eagles sitting on top of a utility pole.

Back to the ship, I stopped by and got the information from the medical visit. Wasn’t as bad as I had feared. The visit and the medicines came to less than $170. There were instructions with the bill on how to file it with your medical or travel insurance. I will give it a try when I get home. However, money well spent. Chuck says he is not in any more pain. I also tried to get our laundry package straightened out. I showed them that I paid for the unlimited laundry but they keep charging me by the piece which is much more expensive. Luckily, I had the copy of my order form. I will look again on Sunday to see if it is cleared up. Last stop was the Future Cruise consultant to pick up a form that lets you put down a nominal deposit (typically a $100 or $300 pp deposit) without booking a specific cruise. You have 4 years to pick a cruise.

We were notified that the air conditioning would be worked on today and I noticed that the room was a little stuffy. I hope it cools off pretty soon or I will have a hard time sleeping.

Now it is time to get cleaned up and get ready for our Pinnacle Grill reservations. The PG is Holland America’s upscale restaurant which costs extra to dine in. However, we each got a free meal in the PG as part of the promotion that we booked. The dinner was fantastic. I had the jumbo shrimp cocktail, the king crab legs, sautéed mushrooms, and cheesecake. Chuck had the shrimp cocktail and the cedar-planked halibut with crab cakes and shrimp with whipped potatoes and cheesecake. We were so stuffed, we waddled back to our room. I meant just to rest until I could go to the main show which was an Alaskan nature movie set to music. I saw it last year and it was very good. Alas, I did not get up from my food coma and missed it.

Tonight’s towel animal is a frog.

Author: mmmtravelmemories

A retired college administrator who loves to travel. I write to remember the experiences and, I hope, to inspire others to make their own travel memories.

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