Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I'm in LOVE!

Have the opportunity to type this blog on computer and going to take it. Typing blogs on Iphone is great cause I can add pix but is a chore and a half. I'll do a photo only upload after. I'm sitting in a beautiful home at the top of the hill that leads to the hiking trail, Persaverance. It's at the top of town here in Juneau. Most likely the steepest hill of my trip so far. My friend is house sitting for a good friend of hers and invited me to join. Then tomorrow she is going to house sit across the bridge on Douglas Island and invited me to stay there as well. So I may leave Juneau on Thursday or Friday.

Yesterday I fell in love. Got in on the ferry just before 5 in the morning. Packed up my stuff and took the 12 mile bike ride to town. There was a bald eagle in every tree. They are like pigeons here. Then I got about 4 miles out of town to Salmon Creek and was astounded. Hundreds of salmon spawning. With eagles of all types and seagulls praying upon them. It was truly a sight for me in person. I've never seen that or anything like it. Huge fish swimming in shallow water up stream. Only on TV.

Then I got to town and grabbed some breakfast. After that went and met a friend of a friend and she told me she had some contacts in Haines, which is my next stop. Then she invited me to stay with her for the next couple of days. She lives on a remote part of Douglas Island. We went to her house today by boat. She is house sitting for a friend and building a book case here in town. At her place she was tearing off an old big wood awning/roof type thing. She was having trouble getting this last support out to get it to drop. So I told her I would be of assistance. We were able to get the job done. It was super cool to hang out over there and experience that type of living. Outhouses, outdoor showers and the like. Cabins in the remote wilderness. Was also able to help her get all the wood cut for her bookcase and carry it up to where it is being built. "More hands the lighter the work."

Diane is her name and she is great. Moved up here when she was 21 and never left. She has a son and daughter a little younger than me. Full of useful info about Alaska.

My energy feels really good here. I've just met so many great people so far. Took a bike ride yesterday morning out the south road of Juneau. Got to this creek call Sheep Creek. Same thing, salmon spawning upstream. Hundreds of them. It was still real early in the morning. Also quite a few bald eagles hanging about and eating some salmon. So I got off my bike and went walking around the beach. Cruise ships were rolling in and so were a few fisherman. There were fisherman just off the coast fishing and then some guys with rods startied showing up. There was a guy fly fishing for some trout. Then there was a kid there trying to get some Pinks. Pink Salmon. The majority of the salmon there were called dogs. They call em that because they feed that kind to the dogs. Found a little fly fishing lure and took it for a momento of that occasion and went back to my bike.

As I was leaving started talking to a guy walking his dog. Just a great conversation and tonight I'm headed to his house for dinner. He's a local painting contractor that BBQ's a few nights a week at his house and he invited me over. We're going to have King Salmon. Yeah buddy, I'm excited about that! We just hit off. Another one, left his hometown in Minnesota when he was 18 and made it to the ferry with the $16 he needed to board the ferry and has been here ever since.

He told me about a great trail at the end of the road that went down to Dupont Ruin. An old dock where they used to unload the TNT used to get the gold out here in town. They unloaded it down there so there was no accidents took it up to town a little at a time. He told me it was about a 1/2 mile hike. My ankle still isn't a 100% so I thought 1/2 mile isn't too bad. Turned out to be almost 2 miles in. That's a pretty long distance and I don't really like hiking. Especially by myself in unknown territory with a handicap. kept getting further and further with no sign of a dock. I was a couple of hundred yards off the shoreline. So I could see the water through the trees along with the fishing boats and cruise ships.

This really turned out to be a magical walk. The coolest part was the bald eagle feather that I found. It was all white and I put up in my pulled back hair and had it standing straight up above my head. I was so proud to have found that, it was a special gift for my efforts. That trail was a bit technical. Very wet and rugged terrain. Especially for my crappy Keen biking sandals that offer no ankle support. My feet were getting muddy and banged up. The cold mud did feel good on my wounds though. Like a special forest medicinal effect.

Didn't see any bears fortunately. Did see a few bald eagles fly out of trees when I got to close. I did end up getting to the old dock eventually. Wasn't going to give up that easily. I had left my pannier on my bike which I locked up back at the trail head. It was filled with some of my stuff, like my passport and my checkbook. It bothered me that I didn't carry it along, but I didn't realize it was going to be such a long hike. On the way back I took a little diversion off the trail and that is where I found the feather. When I got back to my bike I put my helmet on and grabbed some pop tarts and started riding. OH NO I thought! My feather was gone. Forgot to put it away carefully and it was gone. Checked down the back of my shirt and couldn't find it. I didn't even take a picture of it I thought to myself. Not to worry, today while walking on the beach by Diane's house I found another all white bald eagle feather.

This place is spectacular. The people here are super cool so far. The mountains look like you are in Hawaii. There is so much run off from the snow that there are little waterfalls coming off these beautiful lush green mountains. The only difference is the snow and the big trees. Other than that you could really think you were in Hawaii. The hike was really special. The foliage is super green, large and then broken up by some really colorful plants and berries. Made me want to hike some more. Need to get some better shoes though.

Also met somebody else in town today who lives on a houseboat here. So we got to talking and he was out in Tracy Arm yesterday. Which is the glacier I'm going to go to tomorrow morning by boat for a 10 hour day. He told me he flew out there. He has his own plane which he invited me out on tonight. It can fit four but since him and I are pretty big it may just be us two and his girlfriend. He wants to get some more time in before the weather changes. That's just the way my trip is going so far. If I get stuck here in Juneau or anywhere in AK, you can understand why.

I'll let you know how the evening goes. Also going to do a second post with just pix from the past two days. Have a great week! Keep yourself open to all the great possibilities that are in store for you.


  1. Wow Ry! Do you think you'll meet your future wife in Alaska ,)

  2. Ryan, glad you like our little town. I was one of the people you called. Sorry I could not host you but I already had other plans. Let me know if you would like to grab a beer at the Hangar. Seems like you have found a good place already.


  3. Pop tarts? They got you too, huh? Sounds magical. Jealous!