Juneau is the most remote capital city in the United States.  Located in the Gastineau Channel in the Alaska panhandle, the town 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.

Surrounded by the massive stone cliffs that keep the harsh winters at bay, Juneau is a great place to hole up for the winter.  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 significantly 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.

jk2
Sporting some serious “bed head” and still clinging my blanket. (It may have been August, but it was still Alaska). I am checking out all the icebergs in the harbor before I ran to the nearest coffee stand. 
jk1
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.
jk3
a chilly rainy day of adventure awaits. 
jk15
The city has mountains on all sides but bayside. You can tram up and hike your way around the summits and even back down if you wish. 
jk14
Chances are pretty good bears will see you. And if they are so inclinded you might get to see them too. (If you want too) 
jk4
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.
jk5
Red Dog Saloon purveyor of libations to take the chill out of the air.
jk6
Ironic that one of the most beautiful states would have probably the nation’s ugliest Capitol building.
jk7
The closest you probably want to get to a mother bear is this statue.
jk8
A colony of Sea Lions working on their cloud tan.
jk9
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 square miles.
jk10
Runoff from the glacier. For a sense of scale, notice the people standing around.
jk11
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 during the summer season.
jk12
Most people, myself included, only get to see Juneau as an excursion stop on a cruise. The city merits a more extended stay, but Juneau that already.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: