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Welcome to Juneau
Welcome to Juneau (Mary Curry)

Alaska's capital city is also a common starting point for small ship expeditions in the Inside Passage. We arrived two nights prior to our cruise so that we would have a full day for sightseeing in case of flight delays. We had planned a helicopter dog sled tour. Unfortunately flight seeing trips get cancelled about one third of the time as weather in southeast Alaska is commonly foggy and rainy. In fact, it rains about every other day for at least part of the day. Weather changes very quickly so we waited until an hour before our scheduled flight time to learn that it was officially cancelled. Fortunately we were able to pivot quickly to a back up plan. Despite not having road connections to most of the rest of the world, cars are very useful in Juneau as public transportation is limited. With that in mind, we headed back to the airport and rented a car. We were grateful that we did as it offered us the freedom to explore at our leisure.

We started by heading out to Mendenhall Glacier, about 5 miles north of Juneau. 
Mendenhall Glacier
Mendenhall Glacier (Mary Curry)

Mendenhall Glacier offered beautiful glacier views and also several interesting hiking trails. We started with a hike along a salmon stream. The short hike was partially along raised boardwalks to allow visitors to safely watch for brown bears that come by frequently to feast on the salmon.
Salmon counts at Mendenhall Glacier
Salmon counts at Mendenhall Glacier (Mary Curry)

Salmon stream at Mendenhall Glacier
Salmon stream at Mendenhall Glacier (Mary Curry)

We didn't get lucky with any brown bear sightings here (that came later) so we headed closer to the glacier and along the trail to Nugget Falls. 
Nugget Falls, Mendenhall Glacier Juneau
Nugget Falls, Mendenhall Glacier Juneau (Mary Curry)

The trail wound thru the lush rainforest where we saw lots of mushrooms and wildflowers.
Rainforest mushrooms, Mendenhall Glacier trail
Rainforest mushrooms, Mendenhall Glacier trail (Mary Curry)
Daisy in Juneau
Daisy in Juneau (Mary Curry)

After the glacier visit, we headed downtown to explore some of the downtown shops and admire the harbor. I had read about a salmon bake located just out of town. Their offer guided 'tours' with transportation from downtown, but travelers with their own vehicles can avoid the crowds and get a better rate. The food was fantastic and 'all you can eat'. Though I'm rarely a fan of buffets, I could get used to eating fresh grilled salmon every night if I lived nearby!
Salmon Bake Juneau
Salmon Bake Juneau (Mary Curry)
Salmon Bake Juneau
Salmon Bake Juneau (Mary Curry)

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