UAS Planned Outings
OUTING 1: Mendenhall Glacier
Date and time: Friday, June 24. Bus leaves campus at approximately 3:15 and returns 5:30 p.m.
See Mendenhall Glacier Visitors Center Website for miscellaneous information. Transportation to and from the glacier will be provided. Family members are welcome too.
This outing includes options of a tour of the Visitor's Center and several short, self guided nature walks on trails that are classified as easy - relatively flat trails. Raised boardwalks provide an opportunity for viewing bears lounging around or feeding on salmon - if the fish are running.
OUTING 2: Whale Watching Cruise
Date and time: Saturday, June 25 after last Contributed Talks Session. Boat leaves at 1:00 and returns 4:00 p.m.
This cruise will be free, with boxed lunches provided. Family members are welcome too. See Allen Marine's website given below for some pictures of what can be expected on the cruise.
What Else to Expect in the Juneau Area
Opportunities: There are many things to do in the Juneau area, and there are activities that cover all budgets - some examples include:
- Tours of downtown and other historic places;
- Visits to the local fish hatchery, the Mendenhall Glacier, and a boat trip out to Tracy Arm Glacier;
- Wildlife viewing - by plane, boat or on land;
- Nature walks and hikes, many trailheads are no more than a 10 minute drive from campus; and last, but not least,
- Fishing - saltwater and freshwater, on land and by boat.
Be aware that many activities can be done independently, or through a tour guide organization. UAS will arrange some planned activities for those interested, these will be listed below at a later date. Go to the Juneau Visitors Bureau website for some additional ideas.
Weather-wise: While Juneau lies in an incredibly beautiful region and can have clear, warm and sunny days in June, it is best to plan for cool, overcast and, possibly, wet days. Typical days in Juneau include clouds and periodic light mist-like rain.
Scenery-wise: Whether it is raining, overcast, or sunny, the scenery is downright breathtaking.
Wild critters-wise: From bald eagles down to the tiny rufous humming bird, there is plenty for birdwatchers to see. The sounds and antics of ravens are also a great source of amusement. Black bears are a common sight at the Mendenhall Glacier, along with possible beaver, porcupine and wolf sightings. Apparently, an occasional brown bear can be seen here too. The best place to view brown bears is at Pack Creek on Admiralty Island. Trips can be arranged online (well in advance to guarantee a booking with the Forest Service and a seat on Float Plane). On the water, and often from the shore, humpback whales, orcas, porpoises, seals, sea lions and possibly sea otters can be observed. Around the time of the meeting salmon can be observed swimming up any stream and jumping at pretty much any spot.
Cautions for Hikers: While there are many trails in the area that can be classified as safe, it is good to be aware of safety practices for any wilderness related activity - particularly for trails that lead away from well developed areas into the surrounding forests and/or mountains. Preferably go on guided hikes/walks, i.e., have a local accompany you on your hike - This can be arranged quite easily. If you do go out by yourself, stay on designated trails. If a trail starts to "fade," it is best to back-track and return the way you entered.
Quite a few newcomers/visitors to the Juneau area have had unpleasant experiences on independent hikes.
Cautions for Kayakers: The inside passage is a kayaker's paradise, however, it can be dangerous, even for experienced kayakers because of the water temperature, currents and unpredictable winds in certain areas. As with hiking, people have run into trouble on the water. Again, preferably go on guided outing, i.e., have a local accompany you, this can also be arranged.
Independent Activities Options
DIPAC FISH HATCHERY: Visit the DIPAC website for information about the hatchery.
GLACIER GARDENS RAINFOREST TOUR: See the Glacier Gardens' website for information.
TOUR OF DOWNTOWN: See the Juneau Visitors Bureau website for some ideas. A tour of the downtown area could potentially be tackled from two different directions, depending on energy level and time available:
The Relaxed Choice: Do a casual walking tour of the downtown area (which is really not too large). You can visit the City and State Museums, browse the many stores for possible mementos, visit Taku Smokeries to find out about what they do, browse the many art galleries, take a ride up to Mount Roberts on the tram and browse the store or walk around up there, or simply hang out in the Marine Park and watch people.
The Energetic Choice: You might wish to hike up to Mount Roberts. It is a fairly steep climb and, depending on your walking speed, it takes around 1.5 to 2 hours to reach the restaurant/store (a distance of about 3.5 miles and altitude of 1700 feet) where you can browse the local artwork, etc. and, with a purchase of $5.00 or more on anything, you can get a free ride back down on the tram.
You could choose to continue on to the summit first (another mile or so up to an altitude of around 3800 feet), then briefly browse the store for your $5.00 purchase for the ride back down.
HIKES/WALKS: See the Trail Mix, Inc. website for ideas. Another fairly detailed source is on the Juneau Trails page of the Alaska Trekker website. You may also contact (highly recommended) the meeting's UAS hiking coordinator (yet to be appointed) for suggestions as well as to arrange for local company if so desired.
ZIPLINE OPTIONS: See the Alaska Zipline website for information and options.
KAYAKING and KAYAK LESSONS: See the Alaska Boat and Kayak Shop website for information. This outfit rents kayaks, provides lessons for beginners, and organizes tours of various lengths. This company also provides guided trips, see http://www.beyondak.com/index.html
While all individuals renting kayaks will be given safety instructions, it is recommended that inexperienced kayakers go on guided trips. All meeting attendees will be given a 20% discount, so be sure to mention you are attending the MAA meeting to get this discount. For questions, call Becky at (907) 209-2526.
JUNEAU ICEFIELD TOURS: See the Juneau Tours website for information. Options include a Helicopter and Sled Dog Tour of the Juneau Icefield and a Juneau Icefield Helicopter Tour.
TRACY ARM CRUISE: This is an eight hour cruise of the Inside Passage to the Tracy and Sawyer Glaciers. In addition to viewing the scenic beauty of the Inside Passage, there is a very strong likelihood that a wide variety of sea and land wildlife will pop up. Humpback whales are typically seen. There is a chance of seeing orcas, and there is always a possibility that a pod of porpoises will choose to race the boat part of the way.
Other sea-life that is likely to be seen along the way include seals, seal lions and maybe even the illusive sea otter. At that time of the year salmon will be jumping almost every where you look.
Bald eagles are pretty much a guarantee along with a variety of sea birds. Bear (black or brown) might be seen on the shore and mountain goats are usually seen within the fjord.
Then there is the glacier. Seals typically sun themselves on floating ice chunks and there is always the possibility that the glacier will calve at just the right time.
See the Allen Marine website for details.
PACK CREEK BEAR VIEWING: Go to the US Forest Service site for Pack Creek and how to get there for information about transportation to this bear refuge on Admiralty Island.
This trip provides an opportunity for very up-close and personal viewing of Admiralty Island brown bears. The flight over Douglas Island, across Stephen's Passage and then by the mountains on Admiralty Island to Pack Creek is also quite spectacular. Deer and goats can sometimes be seen high up in the alpine meadows, and on clear and calm days the waters of the Inside Passage take on some very pretty colors and interesting patterns.
GUIDED FISHING TRIPS: Go to the Juneau Visitors Bureau website for a list of outfits.
TO WRAP THINGS UP: After an invigorating day (or two, or three, or...) you might wish to visit Juneau's very own award winning Alaskan Brewing Company to unwind with an informal empirical study - Guests over the age of 21 are welcome to enjoy complimentary samples at the company's tasting bar (photo identification with proof of age is required).