Juneau the capital of Alaska?

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Juneau is the most inaccessible capital city in the United States.  Located in the Gastineau Channel in the Alaska panhandle, the city is without any highway connection and over 850 miles from Anchorage the state’s largest city. Accessible only by plane or ferry, many might find that level of isolation maddening.  But the people of Juneau are a hearty bunch and seem to thrive in the seclusion.

If you were going to hole up somewhere Juneau might be an excellent place. Surrounded by the massive stone cliffs that keep the harsh winters at bay. (Certainly given that it is Alaska the winter is colder than the lower 48 but much milder than the latitude might suggest with winter temperatures averaging 28 degrees Fahrenheit (-5 Celsius)  The surrounding mountains also greatly reduce wind chills.) This relatively warmer winter creates a home for much of the areas abundant wildlife.  Bald eagles patrol the skies, Black bears prowl for salmon and the humpback whales use the channel and bays for raising calves.

In the summer the city is frequented by cruise ships which unleash their hordes for photo ops and souvenirs. If you are given a short window of opportunity to visit, it might be easy to glance over the many wonders of this capital city but for those who are willing to look beyond the surface, the city’s abundant charms await.

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If you would like a cruise but are not that keen on not being able to see land, the Alaska cruise is perfect for you. Most of the voyage is through the area known as the northwest passage.  A narrow strip of water surrounded by mountains with silver threads of water flowing down the sides from the snowcaps above.
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Sporting some serious bed head and clutching my blanket from the night before. (because it may have been August but it is still Alaska)
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Juneau where you are? ( That’s the last pun, I promise)
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Downtown Juneau. To the left and not in the picture is the public library. I know, it’s nerdy of me but I like to explore libraries when i visit a new place.
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Red Dog Saloon purveyor of libations to take the chill out of the air.

 

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Ironic that one of the most beautiful states would have probably the nation’s ugliest Capitol building.
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The closest you probably want to get to a mother bear is this statue.
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A colony of Sea Lions working on their cloud tan.
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The Mendenhall Glacier located right outside the city center but still within the city limits. In fact, Juneau is the second largest city in The US in terms of size.
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Runoff from the glacier. For a sense of scale, notice the people standing around.
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Want to go on a whale spotting excursion but afraid you won’t see any whales? No worries, most excursions offer a guarantee, that’s how abundant the humpbacks are durng the summer season.
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Most people, myself included, only get to see Juneau as an excursion stop on a cruise. The city definitely merits a longer stay, but Juneau that already.

 

2 Replies to “Juneau the capital of Alaska?”

  1. They’ll love it. The place is just beautiful. Mark Twain said people should avoid taking the Northwest passage to Alaska as their first trip. He said it was so beautiful it would spoil them for the rest of the world. I can’t argue with that.

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