Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lunar Eclipse, Mendenhall Glacier, and Blue Mussle Cabin

Juneau, Alaska is truly a unique place.  Growing up it seemed normal that a glacier was within walking distance.  My family never paid for seafood or game meat- but we ate it often.  There were never any road trips or amusement parks- but there were always endless hikes and more woods and beach than you could dream up.

It took me a few years to really get the hang of going back home after I moved to Seattle.  I left Juneau with a broken heart and a deeply rooted frustration.  At first it was something that I didn't want to let go of- and then I just wasn't quite sure how.  I had to allow "home" to be what I needed, and stop myself from dwelling on how things used to be.  I love it there now, and I'm nothing short of happy when I visit.  While this past trip home was mainly all about family- I managed to sneak in a a couple of really fantastic adventures as well.

The lunar eclipse happened on my second night home.  I trekked down to aptly named Sandy Beach with my mom, her partner John, and two of my favorite aunts (they all are!) with two thermoses of hot cocoa and a water bottle filled with Baileys.  We got more than a little silly, and when the moon was fully covered the entire little island of Douglas erupted in cheers and howls!  I realize that you can't see diddly-squat in these pictures- but I just love how spooky they turned out.

The next afternoon my friend Amy and acquaintance Tyler dragged my over-dressed butt out onto the frozen Mendenhall Lake and right smack up against the face of the Mendenhall Glacier.  I will just state right now that frozen lakes, and insanely huge moving masses of ice made me a little bit jumpy.  No one fell in or froze to death, so I'd say it was a pretty solid success.

The night before Christmas Eve my brothers girlfriend Liz had gone out at the Blue Mussle cabin with some friends.  My friend Morgan had decided not to hike out with them then- but instead invited Amy and I to go along with her the next morning to surprise them.  It's a 3.5 mile hike each way, and the second part spit us right out onto the beach, with some incredible wind and very, very low temperatures.  They were surprised!  We all hiked back together and had near perfect timing, as it had just started to snow again before we reached the trail head.

What is home like for you?


N Germain said...

Just so you know, two days after you left, someone did fall through the ice, right at the face of the glacier! Glad it wasn't you!!

Carissa said...

Oh, I love your photos of Alaska!! I spent three summers in the Matanuska valley, and always wanted to visit in winter (though I don't think I could last through a whole one). It looks so magical.

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