Alaska '08 Day 52, Haines to Juneau
Sat Aug 2, 2008
We took the 9AM ferry out of Haines for Juneau. There was about 6 other campers and maybe 20 cars. The tide was really low so they had a hard time unloading cars from Skagway and loading some of the 5th wheels. We are just a little higher than a regular class C so we had no problem. We drove the jeep on separate because it was cheaper than hitched to the camper (don't know how much cheaper but the ferry company tells me it is). No problems getting on or off.
They had forest service ranger giving talks in the front observation deck. She gave a 15 minute talk on glaciers and later another on seals and sea lions. It was really calm, like glass, all the way to Juneau. Seemed like a short ride (9AM to 1PM). We saw lots of small boats fishing and cruising. This passage is a straight shot down the Lynn Canal. We saw 3 humpbacks outside Auk bay just north of Juneau, we could see houses when we saw the humpbacks so there are places in Juneau here people can see whales out their front window.
We got into Spruce Meadows campground, maybe 60% full. We did not get a chance to make reservations and it didn't matter.
Mendenhall Glacier is just up the road from the campground so we ran up to the visitors' center since there really wasn't time for too much else today. I remember this glacier but I thought I was remembering Portage glacier. This place was jammed, bus trips come here off the cruise ships. We walked Steep Creek trail. There is a sockeye/red run on Steep Creek right now. You can see the salmon from a short boardwalk loop. The water is crystal clear and about 6" to 12" deep so there is no problem seeing the fish. I thought the fish were silvers because they were so big. There were 8 lb. salmon in here.
Mendenhall Glacier is back 1.5 miles from the parking lot so we didn't walk back all the way to it. We did get some good pictures of it, it's pretty wide and pretty tall. There is a good size lake in front with lots of ice.