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Hiking to Mendenhall Glacier via the West Glacier Trail

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The Stews returned to Juneau. Not only is it an amazing city, but the Mendenhall Ice Caves were the true draw for us. Last time we went to Juneau we weren’t able to get to them, so we had planned another trip specifically to go.

The Ice Caves are considered one of the best places in the world to take a ‘selfie’, and we figured living so close, we should check it out. (Ok, I know. A plane ride 1,000 miles isn’t ‘close’, but it is in the same state and I live in Alaska – let me pretend things in my own state are close!)

When we were doing research on how to get to the caves, however, there isn’t much out there. We scoured other blogs and hiking sites to figure out the best approach. Since we had such a tough time figuring it out, we tried to document our trail so others could attempt the same way we did.

This was by no means an easy hike – if you’re not a skilled hiker with some climbing experience, you can get hurt. State Troopers said this where most of their rescues happen, usually because of injuries like broken ankles or falls. Don’t attempt if you’re not good at outdoorsy-ing.

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Weekend For Two In Juneau

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I go to Juneau almost once a month for my job, and have really fallen in love with the city (see this post, this post and this one too). Southeast Alaska has an enormous forest, excellent hiking, friendly people, and a gigantic glacier to boot! I always enjoy going and wanted to share the magic of Juneau with Matt.

Luckily, my work date lined up with some cheap airfare so we were able to buy Matt and plane ticket and extend my work trip out for a weekend! Also, is anyone else depressed that I now consider anything below $300 a cheap ticket? Ugh, let’s not think about that.

While we were in Juneau, I discovered a new store I love, we drank delicious beer, and we hiked A LOT. Continue reading “Weekend For Two In Juneau” »

My First Trail Run

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Trail running has always been an intimidating thing for me. There are all those roots and rocks and the chance to fall is really high.

I don’t know if you know this about me, but I’m not often described as ‘graceful’. I trip walking and have on several occasions fallen down with no prompting. So the fact I went on a trail run (and enjoyed it!) was a huge thing for me.

The Story:

I went to Juneau for work last wednesday. Flying to/from Juneau is always kind of a pain because there are no good flights. I leave Anchorage at 8am (hello 7am airport, ugh), and the only flights home are at 1pm and 7:45pm. The 1pm flight is too early, but I always end up finishing up with customers by 2:30. Normally I go hit up the Alaskan Brewing Co. and buy signs for people who want them back in Anchorage (I also did this again last week).

With my first 12k (and longest distance race!) coming up that Friday, I was a bit nervous and brought running gear to get a short run in and see how I was feeling for Friday. When it came time for my afternoon run, I realized I didn’t want to run on a sidewalk when I could run on a sidewalk anywhere. I wanted to run somewhere special in Juneau.

Which led me to the Mendenhall Glacier!

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I love glaciers, and the fact that this one is right in town in Juneau makes it one I visit on a monthly basis. (I swear it looks different and beautiful every time!!)

Continue reading “My First Trail Run” »

Did Juneau how pretty Juneau, AK is?

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I’ve been to Juneau twice for work this year, and both times I’ve been so in love with how pretty the town is.
The first time was a super clear but cold day. Between seeing customers I was able to eat lunch at a place downtown called The Rookery.

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The cupcake was the best part of lunch. Oh, and their meatball sandwich was amazing too.

I also got to go to the brewery of one of our favourite Alaskan beers: the Alaskan Brewing Company!

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Our go-to Alaskan beer is their Freeride APA, but I have recently fallen in love with their Hopothermia. 20140314-113358.jpg

Not only did I get to sample six amazing beers before my flight home, I got to chat with the coolest employee there who collects beer bottles from around the world. I told him I would bring two Thomas Creek beers from Greenville, SC and we would drink them together before adding them to his wall. So if someone could send me some TC beer, that would be awesome!

Yesterday was my second time back to Juneau, and the day wasn’t as clear, but just as fun.

I ended up having a coworker in town the same day, so we shared a rental car, made our sales calls, and then he showed me Juneau from a locals viewpoint (he’s a local Alaskan).

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First up: the Mendenhall Glacier. Cloudy days are the ideal days for seeing glaciers: the cloudy overcast makes the glaciers shine to an amazing blue. In colder weather, the water runoff from the glacier freezes and you can walk across ice all the way up to it! Sadly, Alaska has been a bit warmer than usual so no close encounters yet.

Next, we checked out the Wall of Skis!

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This is a local landmark, technically across from Juneau in North Douglas, AK. A local guy started collecting skis and then made a wall of it. This Article gives a good insight about the wall and the guy that built it. We saw it on the side of the road as we were going to look at Eaglecrest Ski Resort (we had a really late flight home last night) and had to pull over. My coworker is a big skier (went to college and skied on UA-Fairbanks cross country team!) so he was so into this landmark.

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There are a lot more cool things to do in Juneau, we just didn’t have time. It will be interesting to see Downtown Juneau during cruise season: I’m told the tourists take over the streets and that it almost resembles Nassau in terms of the kitchy cruise shops (jewelry stores galore! T-shirt shops a plenty!), but overall the town pulls out their friendly smiles and makes everyone feel welcome.

To end, a little humor.
Did JUNEAU that Juneau is the capital of Alaska?
Did JUNEAU that Juneau was incorporated in 1900?
Did JUNEAU that Juneau’s population is only 30,000 (Anchorage’s is close to 300,000!)

Have a great weekend, y’all!!

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