I was lucky enough to go on a glacial adventure this weekend with the help of NorthStar Trekking!
Going underneath the Mendenhall Glacier is one thing, but putting on a pair of crampons and checking out all the features on top of it is awesome… as is scaling the face of a frozen slab of ice. In all, the exploring lasted about three hours. Throw in the helicopter rides and perfect weather and well, needless to say, it was a pretty epic afternoon.
Below are just a sampling of the nearly 500 photos I snapped. I did my best to capture the full breadth of the experience, but I would highly recommend making your own way onto the Mendenhall if you can, even if you’re from Juneau and you see it all the time. There’s nothing like it!
I would say that there’s not much better than hiking up a mountain on a sunny and warm Juneau day, but… Juneau’s pretty awesome that way. No matter what you do on a sunny and warm Juneau day however, you can never go wrong by making your way to the top of a mountain!
Mt. Bradley, otherwise known as Mt. Jumbo, is a 3,337 foot peak on Douglas Island, offering great views of downtown Juneau, the backside of Douglas, the airport area, and pretty much everywhere else.
The trail is about three and a half miles long and up, up, UP. It’s well worth the effort though…
This was my third hike to the glacier cave at Mendenhall Glacier that has been the “go to” cave for the past few years. I went in July 2011 and October 2011 – for moving at glacial speeds, it’s amazing how much has changed in between visits!
Much more of the face has calved off and melted over these two short years and the entrance to the cave itself has receded at least 100 feet. It actually looks a bit more stable now, as the previous ice outcropping that was at the entrance before was relatively thin looking. Inside the cave is just as amazing – the bluest of blues and the sound of water rushing under the glacier. If you go, be safe and bring rain gear!
It’s been tough to catch the aurora borealis down here lately and today was looking like no exception – stormy weather bringing bouts of torrential rain made it seem very unlikely that Juneau was going to enjoy any of the auroral displays that Anchorage and the rest of the state had gotten to see recently.
However, the northern lights deities decided to give Juneau a break. Arriving home after a late-night hockey game, I noticed that not only had it stopped raining and I could see the stars, I could also see the faint glow of the aurora. Of course, I ran inside, grabbed my camera and tripod, and headed out for a few hours!
I’ve been on a roll with going through my thousands and thousands of old photos and getting rid of duplicates, out-of-focus shots, and just plain bad photos. In doing this, I’ve come across a few photos that I totally must have missed in my post-shoot excitement.
This shot is one of those. I tagged another photo from this set to be published (you can see it here), but I have to be honest – I like this one much more! This little bumblebee looks like she’s trying to be sneaky, eh?
Sunsets in Juneau, when they’re visible and the clouds line themselves up just so, are amazing. So amazing, that if it even looks like a spectacular sunset is possible, people start migrating to the best viewing spots as early as possible so they don’t miss it.