Flower Framing

This was a picture of opportunity. My spouse stopped at this vantage point as we were on our way to pick up a friend. I didn’t even think to lower the window, which I wish I had.

The focus isn’t great, but I enjoy the colors and the view of clouds and mountains framed by the flower pots. I might come back here on another day with more intention and less glass in the way.

Taken on Douglas Highway, September 14, 2019.

Peterson Lake Trail, July 13, 2019

Back in July 2019, I was blessed to have my sister-in-law’s family visit, including my two nephews. I’ve already posted about the Eaglecrest Ski Area trail I hiked with one nephew, today I want to share some photos of the Peterson Lake Trail in Juneau, Alaska that I hiked with my sister-in-law’s other son. We hiked pretty late in the afternoon but didn’t think that was a huge deal because sunset was 9:30pm.

I don’t have a picture of the trailhead, but it’s just an unmarked pullout at about 23 miles on Egan Highway. Here’s a picture of the boardwalk near the beginning of the trail:

Caption: Boardwalk near start of Peterson Lake Trail.

Caption: Meadow near start of Peterson Lake Trail.

I enjoy the Peterson Lake Trail. It’s mostly forest but there’s enough variety to keep you interested. Most of the trail is well maintained.

Caption: Part of Peterson Lake Trail. Not every stretch was this nice.

Many of the trees on the trail have mushrooms growing on them. I’m no expert on identifying mushrooms so I leave all of them alone. But I often take pictures because they’re often so striking.

Caption: Mushrooms grow on many trees in Juneau, especially in shaded areas.

There are plenty of edible plants – especially berries on the trails in summer. I ought to have taken some pictures of the blueberry bushes we ran across. Instead I took a picture of this pretty and poisonous flower:

Caption: Pretty Columbian monkshood. NOT an edible flower.

Because we didn’t set out on the trail till 5pm or so, I decided that for safety’s sake we’d turn around in two hours. That would have put us back at the trailhead at 9pm with a half hour of daylight to spare. But at the two hour mark we had not yet gotten to the lake. My nephew was leaving in a few days and I really wanted him to see the lake. So I set my timer for another ten minutes and hoped for the best.

I felt justified in doing this because I felt we were really close to the lake. It turned out we were about just about eight minutes later, the trail opened up to this sight:

Caption: Peterson Lake, July 2019 with lilypads

Having said the above, I’m not nearly always right when I make guesses like that. But this time my choice was ok. Well ok-ish. We did worry some folk, but more about that in a bit. In general, it is best to stick with your original plan when hiking.

Having reached the lake, I wondered about our chances of getting to the cabin in time to turn around and still be back at the trailhead by sunset. We quickly noticed smoke from the cabin’s chimney in the distance. My nephew and I quickly agreed there was no way we were reaching that with the time remaining to us and we turned around.

The hike was beautiful and good conversation was had. Like many places “out the road” in Juneau we didn’t have cell service while on the trail. We were reasonably hopeful that we’d have it when we got to the trailhead. The trailhead was about a mile or so from where we were staying at the Shrine of St. Therese. Our plan was to get to the trailhead and call for a pickup.

Remember my saying that sunset was 9:30pm? We got to the trailhead about 9:45pm. It was gloomy but not full dark and I didn’t feel unsafe. I did feel disappointed because we did not have cell service on the road. So we started walking. At this point we’d be walking for four hours. I am more than double my nephew’s age and had just about walking for the night. But there was nothing to do but put one foot in front of the other.

After walking what felt like 20 minutes both our phones started beeping with the multiple texts. It was my nephew’s parents wanting to know if we were ok. When we first tried to reply, we saw we’d lost cell service again. So we backtracked a little to a pullout, found cell service and texted back. They dispatched my lovely spouse to fetch us. I really enjoyed the hike but loved it when I saw her pull up with our car. We got back to our lodging and had a good night’s rest.

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Note: My photos are under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) license. If you don’t intend to make money through your re-use, do what you will with my photos as long as you give me credit.

If you want to do something money-making with them, make me a licensing offer.

Treadwell Historic Trail – August 30 2019

Today was more of a walk than I hike. I took the bus home from work and got off at Savikko Park on Douglas Island, about a half mile from my home. I didn’t go home first because I wanted to make sure I got some walking time in on the Treadwell Historic Trail.

The historic trail has several paths from Sandy Beach, which is next to Savikko Park. This time I picked the trails that kept near the beach and passed by the superintendent’s office:

Caption: Treadwell Mine office building.

The mine office building was recently spruced up by a local organization. They put a roof on it and removed the second floor — I think for safety reasons. The resulting look is bare but spacious:

Caption: Interior of Treadwell Mine office building.

Late summer is a nice time to be on the trail. Everything’s so green. Here are a few more photos from today’s walk:

Caption: Beautiful Forest Path

Caption: The road goes on and on on Douglas Island.

The part of the Treadwell Mine Historic Trail that I took ends at the Treadwell Cave-in, which took place in the 1920s and essentially ended the Treadwell mine and its surrounding town, which at the time was separate from Douglas. I took a few pictures of the cave in, giving different parts of the photos emphasis because one part was well lit and part was shaded:

Caption: Letting the light part of photo determine exposure leaves plaque and trees in shadow.

Caption: Letting the forest and plaque determine exposure leaves the water overexposed.

Theoretically, I could probably combine the two photos in Photoshop Elements and get a blended picture with the best of both exposures, but today I’m more interested in sharing what I took than fiddling with photos.

One surprise at the end of the trail is a new park bench. That’s new to me. What was more surprising is that it was dedicated to someone I knew:

Caption: Bench in memory of Dean Tirador and Dee Logenbaugh

Caption: View from bench in memory of Dean Tirador and Dee Logenbaugh

I don’t think I knew Dean, but I knew Dee. She was an amazing intellectual, book selling and kind human being. For many, many years she ran the Observatory bookstore in Juneau and I considered her one of the most knowledgeable people on early Alaska maps. She was also a member of my church and beloved by her community.

If her spirit rests here, I hope she enjoys the spot.

Note: My photos are under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) license. If you don’t intend to make money through your re-use, do what you will with my photos as long as you give me credit.

If you want to do something money-making with them, make me a licensing offer.

Voter Registration & Absentee Voting Options for Oct. 1 Municipal Election – City and Borough of Juneau

https://beta.juneau.org/newsroom-item/voter-registration-absentee-voting-options

Municipal elections usually have the lowest voter turnout of any elections. This gives the people who do vote disproportionate power.

If you are eligible to vote in Juneau, I hope I’ll see you at the polls on 10/1/2019.

Hiking – Eaglecrest Ski Area, 7/21/2019

Hello! It’s been awhile. I’ve decided to come off hiatus because lately I’ve been doing more photography. I played around with creating a photo journal in Google Docs and it occurred to me that the photo journal entry felt like a blog entry. So here we are.

Note: My photos are under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) license. If you want to do something money-making with them, make me a licensing offer.

Now, for the hiking post.

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This was my second hike at Eaglecrest Ski Area in Juneau, Alaska. My first was only the week before with a visiting nephew. That time we hiked about two hours because we were expected elsewhere.

I started from the Eaglecrest parking lot about 3pm. It was about two hours up and an hour and a half down.

This time I didn’t get a picture of the parking lot or the two lower lodges, but it’s a nice area in the summertime. So my first picture is of the Ptarmigan lift station (see below).

Ptarmigan Lift

Not long after you get out of the parking lot and past the lower lodges and caretaker cabins, you come to the Ptarmigan lift.

Drone Alert

Drone quadcopters have been popular in Alaska for several years, but this is the first time one flew over me while hiking. It could be heard but appeared to maintain a respectable altitude. I assumed there was a camera on board. I do wonder what the operator saw when I had my phone camera pointed at the drone to take its picture. It probably wasn’t even focused on me. Humans in general assume they’re the center of attention.

Snow making machines

I’m not a skier. I haven’t visited a ski resort in winter for decades if ever. So I didn’t recognize these devices at first. I had to read the labels to positively identify them as snow making machines. I think it would be fun to see them in action.

Gateway to Treadwell Ditch Trail?

Shortly after passing by the two lower lodges, I came across this path. I was intent on hiking to the top of the ski trails so I didn’t explore this path. Eaglecrest Ski Area is one terminus of the Treadwell Ditch Trail. I’ve seen it once many years ago but my memory is fuzzy.

Perhaps I’ll explore this trail another time or two.

Climbing up the mountain

Caption: Looking down trail towards Mendenhall Valley

Caption: On Eaglecrest Ski Trail looking towards Juneau Airport Area.

Caption: Getting closer to the top through winding gravel trails

Caption: High enough for alpine ponds.

Caption: The road goes on and on. Upper Eaglecrest weather station in distance.

There are a lot of switchbacks and good views of forest on the Eaglecrest trails. I think I was on Ptarmingain trail. This is one of the situations where I could show you my route if we were there, but it is hard to describe without a map.

From the parking lot, I spent about two hours on wide gravel trails until I reached what I’m calling the rim of the Eaglecrest Bowl and a welcome surprise ….

Eagle’s Nest at Eaglecrest

Caption: Eagle’s Nest Lodge at Eaglecrest Ski Area

Caption: Listing of ski routes available from the Eagle’s Nest Lodge. Diamonds represent the hardest trails.

Caption: View of Eagle’s Nest ski lodge from Pitmann ridge.

I’ve lived in Juneau for 20 years. In part because I’m not a skier, I’ve only had a nodding acquaintance with the Eaglecrest Ski Resort. So I wasn’t prepared to find a whole building at the top of the trail, but it makes sense. An upper lodge/ski patrol station(?) to hang out or select new paths down is completely logical.

The building was mostly shut down. I was thrilled by two amenities apparently available in the off season – working restrooms (with composting toilets) and a picnic bench on the second level of the building, called Eagle’s Nest. The building is also near some alpine hiking trails, so it seems like it would make a good base to hike to, have a meal and then spend time exploring the upper trails before taking an hour and a half hike back down.

I really appreciate the Eaglecrest Ski Trail. It offers views and terrain similar to Mount Roberts parts of Mount Jumbo but wider trails and little hand over hand climbing. So far it seems the easiest non-tram route to alpine areas in Juneau. But there are dozens of trails I have not yet explored.

Views from Eagle’s Nest Trails

There are a few narrow, graveled trails visible from the Eagle’s Nest lodge. I took one that took me onto Pittman’s Ridge and that afforded me some good views.

Caption: Beautiful Vista on Douglas Island.

Caption: Alpine pond on Douglas Island near Eaglecrest Ski area.

Pittman’s Ridge and my first glance over Douglas Island to what lay beyond.

Caption: Looking down into Young Bay and towards “Kootznoowoo,” island meaning “Fortress of the Bear,” Kootznoowoo is the original Tlingit name. It is more commonly called Admiralty Island today but it was Kootznoowoo first.

Final Thoughts

This was a wonderful hike. My only regret is that I didn’t start hiking it 10 years ago (assuming the trails were in place then – I’m not sure). I can’t re-do the past, but I will keep an eye on the weather and attempt to get a few more long hikes at Eaglecrest this season.

This trail provides fantastic alpine views at a lower physical cost than Mt. Roberts (unless you take tram) or Mt. Jumbo. The trails are wide and graveled enough that you don’t need to climb with your hands. It is very much a workout. The trails are gravelled but they are also steep.

Based on this hike, I figure it is two hours to the Eagle’s nest lodge and an hour and a half from their to the parking lot. My plan for my next hike is to bring a more full lunch with me and take like a 20-30 minute break at the Eagle’s Next lodge table or steps, then do an hour’s exploring of Pittman’s ridge and surrounding area. I’ve got a few stops planned like checking out these areas I photographed from afar:

Caption: Crushed cabin? Abandoned platform? Only one way to get more information.

On Hiatus as of 7/24/2018

After examining my usage statistics and level of engagement (commenting, ping backs, etc) with this blog, I’ve decided this isn’t where I want to spend my time, at least for now.

I’m leaving my blog up so that people still have access to previous content, and I reserve the right to resume posting if I feel I have something I really need to say.  If you have been following my Equal Justice Initiative posts, I invite you to explore their History of Racial Injustice Timeline.

This should not be taken as asserting blogging isn’t worthwhile for anyone. It’s just personal blogging isn’t for me, right now. YMMV

JULY 23rd, 1910 Press Reports Murder of Black Taxi Driver in Montgomery – Equal Justice Initiative

Today, the Equal Justice Institute shares a story from 1910 that still echoes today.

On July 23, 1910, Colored Alabamian, a black magazine, reported the murder of black taxi driver Mitchell Johnson in Montgomery, Alabama. Earlier that month, a white man employed Mr. Johnson to drive him to his home, then refused to pay the fare. Mr. Johnson reported the incident to his employer and had the man arrested. After the passenger posted bond and was released from jail, he found Mr. Johnson and shot him dead. When the man was rearrested, he asserted that he killed Mr. Johnson in self-defense and he was released.

On July 11, 1910, following Mr. Johnson’s death and a string of murders, Montgomery County Judge Armstead Brown instructed a jury to determine a defendant’s innocence based on evidence and not on class or race. He stated, “All charges of homicide should be rigidly investigated. Whether the killing be of some person of standing or a poor unknown negro.”

Colored Alabamian applauded his remarks: “White men who murder Negroes only have to tell the Court they acted in SELF-DEFENSE, to be turned loose, whether the victim was a Negro man or a poor helpless Negro woman. We are therefore very thankful to Judge Brown.”

Despite Judge Brown’s plea for even-handed enforcement of the law, distrust of the criminal justice system among black Montgomery residents grew. Two months after Grover C. Ray, a white man, murdered Ed Rugley, a black man, Colored Alabamian‘s editorial board warned, “Watch out now for the old theory of SELF-DEFENSE.” In cases where white defendants were charged with killing black people like Mr. Johnson, the black community in Montgomery increasingly came to see the justice system not as a source of protection but as complicit in shielding white men from accountability for violence against African Americans.

Source: A History of Racial Injustice – Equal Justice Initiative

I find it heart breaking that we seemed to have made little progress in this area. From George Zimmerman to almost any incident of police shooting unarmed black men, the simple assertion of self-defense or fear for one’s life is still, in the 2010s, enough to be acquitted of murdering an unarmed black man or in some cases, to avoid being charged.

We also have to take a moment to gape in horror at the level of entitlement and hatred present in the murderer of Mr. Johnson. Even if we assume that Mr. Johnson lied (which I do not) about his passenger not paying a fair, how does false witness become a death penalty offense? In the more likely case where Mr. Johnson was telling the truth, how staggering it is that the passenger, having stiffed the taxi driver, decided that the driver had to die for reporting his crime? The arrogance just astounds.