August 15th 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 1
Arriving in Juneau

I was just awake, lying snug + warm in my sleeping-bag, when I heard something being announced about Juneau, so I shot up and went + took a hurried shower – it was beautiful.  Returned + woke up Val – we were now only about 10 mins from docking.  Naturally, the weather was  now pretty foul, grey + rainy, but I suppose that was what we expected.  I was out on deck as we put in, + saw Steve + Chickie, + waved enough to make them see me.  I then went + got Val + introduced them all to each other by way of signals from the ship.  We docked, and went down + said hello to Steve’s parents too, who were leaving for Skagway that weekend, on the very ship we had just come in on – most convenient.  Then, once Chickie had directed Wayne + another of our boat acquaintances to suitable places to rest for the night, Steve drove us back to his house for breakfast – both the house + the meal were very large.  After breakfast, they drove us up to Mendenhall Glacier, about 4 miles away, where we went for a fairly short hike, up to some waterfalls.  The glacier was monumentally impressive – it was difficult to get its size into perspective, and the effect of blue ice there was something we’d never seen before.  After a stop to regain our breath in the visitor’s centre there, we came back for another huge meal.

Mendenhall glacier

In the afternoon, Val and I borrowed Steve + Chickie’s bikes + went out for a short ride.  It was good fun (especially since I had the good bike – the 10-speed) but we didn’t go very far.  Despite that, we still managed to get ourselves lost – ho hum.  Then, of course, there was yet another gigantic meal… chops… after which we all just lay around.  Steve’s house has a magnificent circular fireplace in the middle of his lounge, but he couldn’t be bothered to light it, promising to light it tomorrow night instead.  We discussed various types of employment for us, including waiting + working in the cold store.  Things to delve into more seriously later.  Then, an early night.  (After dinner, we all went over to Douglas Island + walked along the beach, looking at some old buildings etc.)

 I can only imagine the glacier is much reduced nowadays, such being the way of things in this strange age.

Clearly, we had become used to a more restricted diet – I can’t really believe all three meals were quite so enormous as described.  Pleasant, once again, to enjoy the delights of kitchen, bathroom, bedroom (as in eating, showering, and sleeping.)  Mind you, it is not as though we had been living in the wild for months.

Oh, and Val and I once again demonstrated our remarkable ability to get lost in almost any situation.  Ho hum, as I used to say a lot back then.

  1. Pamela J Blair

    I was in Juneau around 2003 and the Mendenhall was still there! I believe the boat you’re talking about is the one that carries mail between the various cities. Not exactly a cruise ship, but they do have tiny rooms with berths in them. We took a water taxi (small boat) up to Skagway, drove a mountain to a small town in BC where a friend had a place to lend us, then back. As I recall the brakes on the car we rented didn’t work and it was touch-and-go (more like stomp-and-go) all the way down the mountain. I didn’t like Skagway very much (I think of it as the armpit of Alaska, if you can give up the “panhandle” metaphor and switch to something more fitting).

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