Aspen and I on deck the Baranof Dream (Sandra Woerner)
After yet another peaceful night of sleep, I got up at 6:15 and ate a hearty breakfast of baked eggs(a new dish to me) and bacon and cranberry juice. We had docked at Juneau and got on bus #281 from the Gray Line bus company. Ben, our driver, took us to Mendenhall Glacier. There were many buses there as several large cruise ships had docked in Juneau. This was the only time we encountered so many other travelers. It looked like an Asian invasion as hundreds of Asians got off their buses and started walking toward the glacier. Our small group was early enough that we got to experience this wondrous sight without too large a crowd. We walked by the Mendenhall Glacier visitor Center. This glacier is in the Tongass National Forest and is 12 miles long from its origin on the Juneau ice field to it's terminus at Mendenhall Lake. Here, there is a spectacular waterfall. The noise made by the rushing water makes you very aware of the force of nature's water. We stood close to the edge of the lake and could feel the cool spray from the rushing water. Some of our group went on a whale watching tour and one mother and her daughter did a dog sled tour. The three of us ate at ''the Hanger on the Wharf'' downtown. I ate fried halibut for the first time and we all three gave it a thumbs up. The three of us strolled through downtown and did a little shopping. Several huge cruise ships were docked there and I was very thankful that I was on a small cruise ship. Those large ships are floating cities. We rode the Mt. Roberts Tram, owned and operated by the Tlingit natives. It was very crowded. Once we got to the top, we had a stupendous view of the city which was 18oo feet below. At the top, we saw the Juneau Raptor Center bald eagle display. After we rode the tram down, I was craving a cappuccino so we stopped in a small coffee shop. Aspen and I split a chocolate and hazelnut gelato. At one store, we watched two guys making fudge and Aspen made a couple of purchases there. We met the rest of our group at the bus at 3:45. Boarding the ship, we then headed to Orca Point Lodge on Colt Island. The chefs had prepared a king crab dinner for us. We had shrimp cocktail and shrimp dip and salmon jerky. The lodge had a gift shop and I bought a bar of soap that was made from glacier silt. I tried it when I got home and my face felt as soft as a baby's. Pam and Dave are the caretakers at the lodge and have been there many years. It is very remote and must travel by boat to get to town. Pam shared some very interesting anecdotes with us; one about getting away from a bear. After dinner, the chef filleted a king salmon out on the deck for us to observe. He was quite handy with a knife. The huge salmon was taken to our ship's chef to prepare for us. The lodge has a touch tank to see Alaska's marine invertebrates up close and the young people strolled on the beach looking for starfish etc. Afterwards, someone built a bonfire and Howard regaled us with a native Tlingit story. He also played his drum and we all danced. Everyone was back on the ship by 11 and the ship headed for Tracy Arm. We were told this was a magical place and it did not take long for us to see it's allure. Soon, I was lulled to sleep by the roll of the ship .
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