Alaska – Juneau

alaska ship rick

alaska ships

Next stop Juneau, the Alaskan State Capital. It’s an awe inspiring sight for a cruise ship passenger. Gliding down the narrow waterway you’re greeted by the towering, snow-capped mountains. Most notable is Mt Juneau, a perfect backdrop to the town.

Mendenhall Glacier

Mendenhall Glacier

The number 1 attraction here is the mighty Mendenhall Glacier. It’s a 13 mile bus trip out of town. This massive icefield descends from the Coast Mts behind Juneau spilling down to sea level. As with all such glaciers it’s receding at an alarming rate but is still a magnificent sight.

Alaska turns 50

Alaska turns 50

alaska open

Dan was keen to visit the Alaskan State Capitol so we made an early exit and headed back to town. With Alaska celebrating it’s 50 year anniversary of statehood it was an ideal time for a tour of the Capitol. Sarah Palin had also raised the profile of the 49th state and it was a large & curious group that met the young tour guide. We made a stop outside the Govenor’s office and viewed her beaming portrait before heading into the humble legislative chambers.

look familiar?

look familiar?

The young guide proud of her home state enumerated it’s many assets. Utilising the imagery of the State seal she drew our attention to it’s resource rich industries of fishing, timber and mining. It was Joe Juneau who effectively put the town on the map, striking gold with the aid of an Indian Tlingit guide in 1880. Juneau later became the Capital when Alaska became the 49th State.

 alaska_seal_n4780

This led to an interesting discussion on Alaska’s short history. The Russians thinking they had exhausted the lucrative fur trade agreed to sell Alaska in 1867 for a mere 2 cents per acre ($7.2m). Considered an American folly the reverse was true. Unprecedented wealth flowed into America’s new territory, firstly with the Gold strike on the Yukon River in 1896, and again in 1968 with billions of barrels of oil reserves discovered in Alaska’s north.

Juneau town - moosehead

Juneau town - moosehead

 

farewell Juneau

farewell Juneau

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