Sunday, October 3, 2010

More Summer: Mount McGinnis

Rewind back to June, when we were in Juneau. I'm finding it really hard to go back and write about trips we did in June, but want to get the photos on here, so here goes.

On Day two in Juneau we woke up to tea and delicious sourdough pancakes, made by Ben's mom. Ben told us stories of all of the peaks he had climbed in the area and beyond, which was pretty much every peak on the map. The peaks he hadn't climbed he already had a route planned out. He was back in Juneau for the summer and was going to spend most of his time climbing before he headed back to school in Anchorage in August.

He gave us about ten options for great day hikes. We decided on Mount McGinnis because the hike started by paralleling the Mendenhall Glacier, which we wanted to visit while we were in Juneau.

The hike started out at Mendenhall Lake. It was hot and sunny again. I think it got up to 80 degrees during this hike. I drank three liters of water in about three hours and then did the rest of the hike without any.

For the first few miles the hike is in the trees, but after about thirty minutes we started to see glimpses of the glacier as we climbed.

Eventually we came out onto the ridge where we needed to turn left and start scrambling. At this time we had a great view of the glacier. We could see people down below and heard helicopters flying back and forth all day. This is kind of a noisy hike on a day that a cruise ship is in town. People get off the ship and get in a helicopter and get flown out to the glacier.

Because we ended up visiting all of the towns in Southeast where the cruise ships stop, this became a theme of our trip. We felt bad for tourists who only get to stop in town for a day and never really get to see Alaska the way we do.

Cruises are great for people who want to pay a ton of money and don't want to do any planning on their own, but if you have the time and are on a budget I would recommend traveling by ferry. You can travel from town to town on your own schedule, talk to the locals (most of them don't really like the cruise ships coming to their towns, so we found the locals were nicer to us, and they travel by ferry themselves so you meet them along the way), and you have time to really explore the surrounding areas.

We turned left up the ridge and had a fun scramble on solid granite until we arrived back in the trees.

We were now well above where most people stop and turn around on this hike, it started to feel like we might be in bear territory. Then we saw this...

Out of the trees and into the snow...

We stopped just short of the summit again because we had gone over an hour past our turn around time and were planning on getting to the ferry at 5pm.

View from our turnaround point...

Off to Sitka for an overnight ferry ride...

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