Saturday – 3rd September, Cruise day 5
Today we didn’t have any specific plans. There were three things that we had in mind to do but we were keeping flexible based on what the weather was doing. One of the things that we wanted to do was to go up the Mt. Robert’s Tramway. This wasn’t going to be a good idea if there was low cloud cover however so we didn’t book tickets in advance. We also wanted to go out to the Mendenhall Glacier but if we’d gone up on the Tramway, we might not have had time so again, we didn’t book in advance. We also wanted to look around downtown Juneau, which could be fitted in around either or both of the other activities as the ship docks close enough to make that feasible.
So, the weather today was overcast. And wet. Mt. Roberts was a no go. We did look at the Tramway but you could only just see the top and the chap in the information centre advised against it as apparently it had been raining all week and it was a mud bath up there. Much as I love cable cars, we’d have been going on it just for the sake of it so we took a photo of it and then bought tickets for the glacier bus.
The Mendenhall Glacier is one of the glaciers that comes off the Juneau Icefield and is one of the few glaciers that is accessible by road. It was quite stunning and awe inspiring. We stood there looking at it and just thought about the fact that we were standing in a rainforest looking at a glacier. Isn’t that just amazing? I think I can safely say that the Tongass National Forest is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.
The rain was coming down quite steadily so we were having to be a bit cautious about using the cameras as I didn’t want to get them wet. There were one or two places where we could shelter though and still get good views across to the glacier. We’d been given a talk on bear safety on the bus out as there are black bears round by the centre. They go there to catch the salmon and feed off the berries. We’d been told that if we went onto the trails we should make noise so that we didn’t startle a bear if there was one there. If the bear heard us coming it would probably get out of our way as it would want to avoid us as much as we’d want to avoid it.
We talked loudly as we went off the main path, as there was just the two of us and no-one else in sight but two people can’t make much noise. The instructions were to talk loudly, clap or sing. So, we had a little sing and as we’d come from a Disney ship, we thought some Disney songs were appropriate. First we had a bit of Zippety doo dah, as that song is permanently stuck in my brain after spending an hour on Splash mountain once, and then we went onto Bear necessities as we thought that seemed very appropriate too. Luckily no-one else was around to hear us *grin*
(and it seemed to scare off any bears too)
We made our way onto the shore and looked at the icebergs, which had come off the glacier and took a few more photos. As there were icebergs I felt compelled to do a sort of Titanic pose. Well, you have to really, don't you.
Then we paid our $3 each to go inside out of the cold and wet and have a look around. There were some interesting and informative displays including a short film and we learnt quite a bit more about glaciers and icefields. I did like this, specifically the sign. It was ice by the way – it was cold. And wet.
After we'd finished looking round, we popped back down to the car park and caught our bus back to Juneau. We were peckish for some lunch by now and needed warming up so we walked across the road to a small cafe to see what they had. We did well as what they had was clam chowder, which is what I had and it was thick, freshly made, full of veggies and absolutely delicious. Stephen had a toasted turkey roll with walnut spread and a fruity pickle which he really enjoyed. We both had coffee and felt much better afterwards. We then had a quick wander round the shops, and bought a couple of t-shirts but it was very rainy and cold so we soon called it a day and went back to the ship. We'd had a very enjoyable morning despite the weather so we didn't feel too bad about not staying out for longer.
We had a bit of a relax and then went out to the show which tonight was the Toy Story musical. It was absolutely fantastic! We both loved it. Dinner tonight, which we did make it to, was at Tritons. I'm typing this bit out several days afterwards and have absolutely no idea what we had to eat but I do remember clearing my plate. Oh, I do recall a rather spectacular banana creme brulee. Yum.
After dinner we popped down to Wavebands to see a couple of chaps who were billed as dangerous comedians. They were quite good. They juggled with machetes and were rather funny too. I was very glad we were right at the back when they were looking for volunteers to juggle knives round though. After our long and busy day we fell asleep pretty much as soon as we got back to our stateroom.