Alaska Cruise – 2012 – Part V – Juneau

What happened to Part IV, you ask.  Or not . . . you probably don’t care.

Regardless, the previous post was Part VI, but it had been so long since Part III, and I am so senile, that I had forgotten the numbering/naming system I was using.  Nah . . . I wanted to use the name, giving a nod to Douglas Adams, and I forgot to add the preface to the title.

Wait . . . so, yeah . . . old, senile.

Juneau . . . one of the bad thing with this cruise (other cruises have different schedules) are the short layovers when we stop.  There is barely time to do anything, and Juneau was such a stop.  Well, I should clarify . . . if you join an excursion, you get places, and do things, without the worry of missing the boat if you run late.  Unfortunately, excursions mean rubbing shoulders with people; lots of people.  That’s not me, Bob.

So, having about four hours, we decided to take the bus out to Mendenhall Glacier.  And, we decided to walk from the ship to the departure hub for all the land cruises (less than a half mile).

On the way to the bus, we saw a number of eagles perched in the trees . . .

On the way to the bus, we saw a number of eagles perched in the trees . . .

. . . way the reproduction act up the friggin’ trees; tall carnal knowledge trees.  And not only were they tall, but dark, and the sky was overcast, and the wind was blowing me about as I tried to point the five-pounds-worth of camera and lens straight up.  Yup, all excuses as to why I only have a few photos of eagles, and not very good ones, at that.

This is already zoomed-in, a crop of a much larger photo.

This is already zoomed-in, a crop of a much larger photo.

Keep in mind these were the best ones I had.

Anyway, between the getting to the bus, buying the tickets, waiting for the bus, riding to the glacier whilst listening to a mildly entertaining bus driver, an hour and a half of our four hours had evaporated into the mist of time.  I can do math, so I went at it . . . carry the 1 . . . no, wait, there is no carry . . . subtract, round off to the nearest minute . . . looks like we’ll have just about an hour at the glacier.  Then we hear there is only one more bus returning to the dock . . . miss it, and you are stuck.  So, realistically, to be safe, maybe 45 minutes.

Not optimal, but doable . . . except the interesting thing to see at the glacier, and to get a good look, is a waterfall a mile away.  OK, hauling 25 pounds of gear is a snap for me, and 15 minute mile is close to our normal walking pace when we are out walking.  That will leave 15 minutes to soak in the sights, and snap some photos.

Alaska Cruise 2012

OK, so we’re hauling, trying to pass meandering Japanese tourists who like to take up the width of the path, and I have to stop and snap the above.  I had looked them up, and even were featured on one of the blogs I follow, but remember that senility thing I mentioned?

Bottom line, I don’t remember what it was.  I did another search, and the closest I got was Rosebay Willow Herb seeds.  I’m going with that, because I’m pretty sure that’s what they are.

Alaska Cruise 2012 Alaska Cruise 2012

On our way to the waterfall, I did occasionally stop to snap a photo . . . or so I told Melisa.  Actually, I was just trying to catch my breath . . . all that cruise ship food had settled nicely on various parts of my body.  It was like carrying around an extra bag of sugar (in addition to all the bags I normally carry).   That is the glacier.  Here are some close-ups.

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That’s bigger than it looks (there is nothing there to give it scale . . . maybe later).  But, our destination was the big-ass waterfall coming off the glacier . . .

Alaska Cruise 2012 Alaska Cruise 2012 Alaska Cruise 2012

Breathing hard, sweating, and trying to keep the camera steady, I literally kept an eye on the clock as I snapped each photo.  I did try to “slow” the water down, and it might be slightly evident in some photos (in the SmugMug Gallery HERE), but the waterfall is too massive for that to work well . . . also, it was cloudy, making the metering an iffy thing (very bright water, darker hillsides).

I used the ground as a tripod, snapped a few more shots, and then we headed back.

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They are OK, but uninspired photos . . . they look like snapshots, because it’s what they were.  BUT . . . on the mad rush back to catch the bus, I took a few more of what I thought were somewhat composed, and quasi-semi-professional photos.

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Those are really large chunks of glacial ice, giving you a small idea of how big the glacier is.

Also, you notice the cairns.  They might just be a personal expression, and not trail markers or burial markers, but they were interesting.  Cairns appear in nearly all cultures, and they are always interesting to see (mainly because I don’t see many).

Alaska Cruise 2012 Alaska Cruise 2012

Finally, we are back at the bus stop . . . and I take a last shot of the glacier as can be seen over the visitor center . . . it gives you an idea of the size of it.

Keep in mind that is a mile away.

Keep in mind that is a mile away.

Probably a little more . . . a mile is just what we had walked; the glacier is probably another quarter, to half a mile farther from the visitor center.  Some of this is probably “zoom compression”, but it does really look that big.

As usual, thanks for stopping by, and I hope it was worth your while.  If it was, tell everyone.  If it wasn’t . . . if it leaves you cold . . . sorry.  I’ll try harder next time.

Mystic Window

Mystic Window


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About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
This entry was posted in Alaska 2012, Machines, Photography Stuff, Travel Stuff, Writing Stuff and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Alaska Cruise – 2012 – Part V – Juneau

  1. Eddy Winko says:

    Amazing colours in the ice, hard to imagine; great photos.


  2. oneowner says:

    It looks like you made the most of the excursion in spite of the restrictions they place on it. Excellent photos.


    • disperser says:

      Thanks . . . and yes, we made the most of it, but it was not fun (hard to enjoy yourself when you are worried about getting stranded) . . . and, we did not have a chance to walk around Juneau, so the only part we saw was from the bus.


  3. You got some great shots there and what a wonderful trip, even if you did have to rush through the stops


  4. seekraz says:

    Again with the blue-ice sculptures…so unnaturally pretty…. And I enjoyed the especially tall (carnal knowledge tall?) trees with the eagles. Have never seen them in the wild…but have seen some of your flowers…visit Google and ask them about Fireweed…that’s what we call them over here on this side of our common border. :)


    • disperser says:

      There is a link in one of the above comments regarding the blue.

      “carnal knowledge tall” ==>> I don’t like to swear (much), but sometimes certain words are very appropriate as descriptors. Soooo . . . . I substitute. See if you can figure it out:

      . . . way the (reproduction act) up the friggin’ trees; tall (carnal knowledge) trees.

      The first one works, but the second one is a stretch, as the actual word ends in “ing”.

      As for the plant, yeah, it’s known by many names, although fire weed in Alaska (and here) is a different plant.


  5. AnnMarie says:

    The eagle shots are great, that plant is magnificent, the glacier is awe-inspiring, the waterfall is impressive, and the glacial ice and cairns are lovely (and cute). So, did I miss anything? Nope, so let’s toast to another great post!


  6. mvschulze says:

    Thanks for the view of the glacier I never saw, due to weather and a helicopter that wasn’t going anywhere IN that weather. M :-)


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