Bonkoski's Alaskan Trip Journal 2008 travel blog

Sitting around our campfire at Mendenhall Glacier Park

Our actuall campfire at Mendenhall

Beautiful Steep Creek near Mendenhall Glacier at the Park Headquarters

A far away view of Mendenhall Glacier from the Park

Close up of the thick ice and snow on the Glacier

Jacob & Rob with Mendenhall Glacier in the background

A view across Steep Creek with the glacier in the background

Ice bergs floating in Mendenhall Lake

Shilloute of Jake at Mendenhall

Close up of the "calving" ice from the Glacier

Jacob, making his way across the large boulders and rocks to reach...

Rob, cautiously making his way over each boulder, with camera in hand

Jacob and the roaring falls just steps behind him

A close up of just a second of the crystal waters pounding...

Liverleaf Wintergreen (I think) is plentiful in Juneau

The black bear that crossed as we were just leaving the Park...

The best possible shot I could get; he was not very photogenic,...

Downtown area of Juneau

The "Red Dog" Saloon gift store in downtown Juneau

The "Red Dog" Saloon

Up on the hill in Juneau.."the little San Francisco"

Colorful homes on the hill in downtown Juneau

Homes built into the hill and with beautiful flowers around (due to...

Larry, pointing out interesting facts of the beavers! (back at Mendenhall Glacier...

Mr. & Mrs. Storey; both teachers from Alaska; they assisted us in...

IZE=3>Thursday, June19th, our marine highway journey ends at 1:30 p.m. as we pull into the port of the capitol of Alaska, Juneau. Juneau’s population is approximately 32,000 people; of many ancestries‘. Our campground is only a few minutes from the Ferry Terminal, however, about 12 miles to the downtown area. I was looking forward to staying at this particular campground, after doing a lot of previous research. Mendenhall Glacier Federal Campground was to be our home until the early morning of June 23rd. I had made these reservation, online prior to leaving home. We had sites #55 & #66. The sites were extremely wooded and very private, with a massive picnic table, large fire pit, and fairly level pad for parking. Everything is Alaska is LARGE! This was also the first day that the two boys were to set up a 3-man tent for their camping experience. We had also purchased a screened gazebo type tent for our dining experiences. Both tents went up within the first hour. After a short bit of sightseeing around the campground, we were off to look for a grocery store.

Mendenhall Glacier is a moving or “calving” glacier, and is enormous. The glacier is fed by the Juneau Ice Field that is the size of a combination of smaller east coast states. It calves off in very, very large iceberg chucks into Mendenhall Lake. We could see a large waterfall off to the side of the glacier, a few kayaks and a lot of forest, snow on the mountain tops, and helicopter’s flying over head for tours of the glacier and ice fields . This lake is 5 times the size of Lake Margrethe, back at home, and is extremely cold. 33 degrees at the surface! Our campground is on this lake, however, we can only see the tops of the mountains that surround the glacier, from our motor home.

June 20, Friday. We had all decided that this day will be full of discovering our natural surroundings. We drove on over to the Mendenhall Glacier Information Center, which was located on the far side of the lake, and a good ways away from the campground. Hiking the board walks, over the streams, and through the woods, was fun and we were able to obtain some good pics of the glacier. Darlene and Larry even had the opportunity to spot a black bear, near the river, and at a far enough distance for photos. Jacob, Rob and I took off with a nice couple from Alaska and headed to a trail that took us right next to the waterfalls. These were the falls that we spotted from across the lake, the day before. We walked through the woods, over the streams, onto the beaches, and eventually over a huge mound of fallen large rocks. We were glad to reach our destination; the walk was definitely worth every step. We were now much closer to the glacier, and right next to these beautiful falls. The falls just fell from the tops of the mountain, gushing and crashing into Mendenhall Lake. Not long after the boys and I arrived at this amazing spot, Bob came and joined us. After almost 2 hours of wondering this area, we headed back to the Jeep, the six of us all piled in (someone always has to set in the very back), and began a short drive to the downtown area. We didn’t get too far, and I spotted a bear crossing the two lane road. Somehow, without much thought, I jumped out of the with my camera in hand, after the bear had crossed the road and walked down to the river’s edge. There was a wooded fence and a sidewalk, which made me feel somewhat safe. Needless to say, I drew a crowd of other folks with their camera’s, too. I was able to get a few decent photos of this black bear, while he/she munched on some berry bushes nearby. The bear got bored of the onlookers and decided to meander further into the brush. My Kodak moment was over!

The remainder of this great outdoors day, ended up with some wonderful tasting Halibut at the Red Dog Saloon, in downtown Juneau. Early to bed, because the next morning Larrys’ 14’ boat was to be launched and 3 out of the 4 men were to go and catch our next days dinner.

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