Sunday, March 27, 2016

An Alaskan Adventure with Meredith

Meredith Travels to Juneau

Feeling nervous and excited at the same time, Meredith steps onto the airplane.  She has never traveled by plane before and is not quite sure what to expect.  She finds her seat by the window and settles in.  It’s going to be a long trip.  There is an almost 4 hour flight to Seattle, then another 2 hour flight to Juneau, the city she is visiting.  She watches as the crew on the ground load last minute bags into the plane.

Ohhh…I can’t wait to get to Alaska! She thinks.  The front door closes, the flight attendants go through their safety instructions, and then the plane races down the runway and lifts off.   Meredith’s tummy tightens and does a little flip as the plane climbs into the sky.  She’s still nervous, until she looks out the window at the beautiful sky.   

They are soaring above the soft white comforter of clouds.  She stares out the window for a very long time, marveling at how beautiful and perfect the clouds look, every once in a while spotting the ground below as the plane passes over a hole in the clouds.

The time passes quickly and before Meredith knows it, the plane is descending into Seattle.  She gets off the plane, finds her next gate, and not long after is boarding her plane to Juneau.   The plane to Juneau has hardly anyone on it.  Meredith actually gets a row all to herself.   By the time she gets to Juneau it’s nine at night.  Exhausted, she curls up in bed and falls asleep.  Tomorrow she will hike up Mount Roberts, in downtown Juneau.

The next day, Meredith is up early, preparing for her trek up Mount Roberts.  She packs a lunch and some snacks, puts on warm clothes and hiking boots.  She has heard that Alaskan trails can be a difficult hike, so she wants to be prepared.  Mount Roberts is one of two mountains that tower over Juneau, the other being Mount Juneau.  In the summer months there is a tram that goes up Mount Roberts to the lookout area that she will be hiking to, but in the spring, the tram doesn’t run.   As Meredith starts out on her hike there is a small amount of fog.  The sun pierces through the fog, lighting up the pine trees and creating streaks of light throughout the forest.  It’s beautiful!

Meredith comes upon a bench that is placed at a perfect spot to look down on the city of Juneau.  She stops to rest and take some photos.  

So far, the trail has been mildly difficult, but she is still at the base of the mountain and has not started really climbing.  Most of the trail is covered in roots and rocks.

As she looks up the path, she sees that it narrows and begins to switch back as it climbs the mountain.  She gathers her things and begins hiking again.

As the trail starts to intensify, with steep natural root stairs, narrow rocky paths, and sharp drop offs, Meredith makes frequent stops to catch her breath and to take in the beautiful scenery.  

Most of the forest is coniferous, but there are stray leafy trees every once in awhile.  Being a rainforest, the ground is completely covered in greenery.  

The fallen trees are covered in moss and ferns, so thick it is impossible to tell what is underneath the blanket of green.  Meredith loves the lush green everywhere.  She wonders what it must be like in the summer.

She stops along the path as she sees amazing areas.  Wow! Look at these trees!  The roots are intertwined so much that you can’t tell which goes where.  Meredith stops by many of the trees to marvel at the roots.  

Some are entwined together in a tangled web that criss crosses across the path and the forest floor.  Some of the roots leave hollow spots that Meredith imagines house animals some of the time.  I can’t believe how cool these trees are!

The trail begins to switch back and forth, climbing higher and higher.  As Meredith goes, it begins to snow, lightly in the forest, but she can barely see Mount Juneau when she gets to a clearing.

The further she goes up the mountain, the more snow is covering the ground.  When Meredith gets to the tram station she can’t see down to the city and there is two feet of snow in areas not covered by trees.  

The pure white snow contrasts with the bright green moss growing on the trees, creating a whimsical winter scene. 

Meredith ends up putting on her snowshoes to walk on part of the path, until the point that she can’t see the path anymore.  

The snow is packed on the path from the people that have walked on it before, but just off the narrow path she sees foot prints that fall off at least a couple of feet. She does not want to get stuck and fall down the mountain. 

Even with her snowshoes Meredith doesn’t feel safe traveling to the peak of Mount Roberts, 3,900 feet up. Instead of traveling up the dangerous trail to the top, she walks around some of the trails around the tram station at 1,700 feet up.  

On one of them she finds a tangle of tree limbs, growing wildly in all directions.  She thinks the tangle would look really creepy at night, but right now, it just looks really cool.

Further along the trail, she comes upon a tree with a Tlingit Indian carving in it.  It reminds her of a totem pole carving, but this is just a single carving.  

It looks like it is a carving of a bird, maybe an eagle, but more likely it is a raven.  She takes some photos of the carving.  I can’t wait to show this to Kyla, she loves art.  I bet that she would really love this!

She wonders around the trails for a little while longer, enjoying the snow and the quiet.  There is no one up here but her right now.  It's very peaceful.

Meredith keeps her snow shoes on as she starts down the mountain, but soon does not need them.  The snow has lightened up and has turned to a drizzle of rain now.  

She stops along the way to take some photos by some more of the amazing trees that she finds.  Some are covered in moss so fine it looks like bright green paint rather than something growing.

She stops at the lookout again, using her binoculars to pier at the buildings of downtown Juneau and to the city of Douglas across the channel.  Meredith can't believe how far up she still is.

The climb down is not as strenuous and takes much less time, but Meredith is very tired at the end of the hike.  She heads back home to rest for the next day.

Check back for more of 
Meredith's Alaskan Adventure next week!


Zen Dolls said...

This is a wonderful story. I can't wait to hear more!!! :)

Anonymous said...

Great pictures! Nature is so awesome. I wonder what Meredith will do next. :)
~Christian Homeschooler

Sharon said...

Beautiful photos, and Meredith did very well to climb so high.....

Farrah Lily said...

Gorgeous photos!!

JGKelsey said...

Thanks everyone! Glad you enjoyed the story and the photos.