Monday, June 25, 2018
Stop: Juneau, Alaska
4am is too early but that’s how you get to Juneau in time to climb a mountain. I’m to the airport and through security by 530am. A few days ago when checking in for my flight I upgraded to first class for an additional fee. But when I went to the Alaska Airlines lounge they wouldn’t let me in. I guess upgraded first class isn’t really first class. But hey, didn’t have to take off my shoes or get the security scan so that’s a win.
I mope a bit as I watch planes come and go. Window seat, row 1 with lots of leg room. Coffee and juice before takeoff. Trees and water as far as the eye can see before climbing above the clouds. Hot towel for face. Fruit smoothie, egg, potato and ham breakfast with real cutlery, linen napkin and ice water in an actual glass. This is fun!
Snow-capped mountain tops start to pop through the clouds as we begin our decent. The views are breathtaking and I feel like a kid in the candy store. We fly directly over Juneau on our approach. I taxi into the hotel and am able to check in early. I regroup my gear and head out to climb up to the top of the Mt. Roberts Tramway. I weave through the streets of Juneau passing the state capitol and brightly colored houses set against green hills. I climb 1,800 ft in nearly 3 miles through hemlock rain forest full of roots and rocks. Raven chatter follows me up the mountain and I’m nearly to the tramway before getting a window view down into the bay.
Mt. Roberts Tramway has it all. Nature Center, rehabilitating bald eagle, gift shop, a short movie on the local First Nationers, and a restaurant. I splurge on mac and cheese and beer in the restaurant and watch the tram come and go. I write a postcard and get it stamped with the official Mt. Roberts Tramway stamp in the Nature Center.
I think about hiking farther up the mountain but it’s getting late and I should get back to Juneau because Uncle Phil’s probably flown into Juneau by now. They cram people into the tram and we’re back in Juneau in six minutes. I start my walk back to the hotel and find the official Alaska Brewing store and locally-made fudge and pottery.
Phil and I find dinner on the waterfront where we can watch float planes come and go. Then it’s the liquor store for Grand Marnier flask filler. Thanks Aunt Donna!