Sunday, June 30, 2013

Floatplane Trip to the Take Glacier Lodge

Being a huge cruise ship destination, Juneau has many many tours and excursions that are geared towards the cruise passengers. The one that most people around think is the best excursion is the "Flight and Feast" at the Take Glacier Lodge. From downtown Juneau near the cruise ship docks, you board a small 10-seater floatplane. There's a 35 minute flight seeing ride over the water, mountains, several glaciers and the Juneau ice field that feeds dozens of glaciers in southeast Alaska. You're then dropped off at the Take Glacier Lodge which is located on the Taku river across from a 5 mile-wide glacier. There's a grilled salmon meal and time to explore the grounds around the lodge. After a couple of hours at the lodge, the floatplane returns to bring you back to Juneau.

The lodge location is indicated by the pink marker. 
My parents were visiting from Massachusetts last week, and I suggested that we splurge and take this tour- it's not cheap as you might imagine! We booked ourselves for last Friday- my parents' last full day in Alaska. We were so lucky with the weather! It really couldn't have been any better. It was in the 70s and partly cloudy. Out at the glacier, there was a slight breeze that kept the mosquitoes at bay. According to the staff that lives out there all summer, they have been absolutely terrorized by them so far this year. We all agreed that it was well worth the $245 price tag.

The Juneau Ice Field

Dear old Mom and Dad

Grillin' salmon

Hummingbird and Moose

Ready to eat!!

Helicopter on a glacier

Looking towards Juneau

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Longest Day Is Coming

The longest day of the year is coming this Friday. It's amazing how drastically different the light is in just a few short months. I'll try to do a more dedicated post to the abundance of light on Friday and the pros and cons, but one thing we've had lately are wonderful sunsets.

This one wasn't a sunset, but it was a pretty great moment in the sun yesterday.

Straight porch chillin'
Rainbow and sunset after a rare thunderstorm

Monday, June 17, 2013

Cabin Camping

One of the cooler ways to camp in southeast Alaska is to reserve a recreation cabin. Most of them are maintained by the Forest Service; others by the state parks system. Some of them are accessible by the road system and hiking trails, but some others you have to take a float plane or boat to. They generally run $35-45 per night, and you can use them year round. They all have stoves or heaters- the federal cabins actually provide the propane for heating the cabins (way cool, I think). It's a very popular camping method year round but especially in the summertime. The cabins that are more easily accessible book up (definitely on the weekends) in the summer, but my roommate knows how and when to book them early so he has reservations at different cabins a few times a month. You may have seen my post from April when we had Blue Mussel Cabin on Berner's Bay (part of Point Bridget State Park). That was my first cabin camping weekend...

Blue Mussel Cabin

Sunset over the Chilkats

Auroras over Berners Bay and Lions Head Mountain

Blustery Day on Lynn Canal

Hiking out

This weekend, Nate had "Dan Moller" Cabin booked. It's on Douglas Island across from downtown Juneau. It's pretty easily accessible via a 3 mile trail (that only goes up). Even though it's the 3rd week of June, there was still plenty of snow up there. Some version of that cabin has been there since the 1930s (built by the CCC and the forest service originally and was/is used as a ski cabin in the winter), and the most recent incarnation of the cabin was built just a few years ago. It's within a beautiful "bowl" at the head of a valley. The trail was well maintained and mostly consisted of boardwalk (it's very very wet at the base of the valley). The cabin is two stories, and there's an open balcony on the second floor. I slept outside because there were not bugs at that elevation. It was glorious! When we got up on Sunday, we trekked up to the ridge of Douglas Island to spy westward on Admiralty Island. It was a bit challenging because it was in the 70s and 80s this weekend so the snow was soft, and we didn't bring snowshoes. Dan Moller Cabin is popular with snow machiners in the winter time. I think I'd like to go up there sometime in the winter... on snowshoes or skis if I don't have a snow machine!

Arriving at the cabin ~11:30pm (thank you midnight sun!)

Where I slept

Damn fine view to wake up to

Cabin in daylight

Can you spot the bear den?

On top of Douglas Island

Admiralty Island and Young Bay

The hills are alive!

On the way back down the trail... Thunder Mountain and Mount Juneau in the distance

Downtown Juneau from the Treadwell Ditch Trail

I can see my office from here!

I'm looking forward to MANY more cabin camping weekends! I'll be on Admiralty for a week next month leading a Wilderness Volunteers trip, and we'll be based at the Church Bight Cabin on Gambier Bay. It's much less frequently used because of the location- you have to take a float plane or boat to get to it, but it still has all the same kinds of amenities as other federal cabins... including an outhouse. It sure beats digging a hole!