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Unplotable Trail Leads to Hidden Vistas


An amazing forest trail, right of the paved Brotherhood Bridge Trail.


Love in the forest.

Today’s hiking plans misfired far more than yesterday’s but still had a good outcome.

The plan was to go out to the Juneau Airport Dike Trail for a couple of hours around 9:30 am and come home in time to had off the car so my spouse could hang out with a friend.

Despite the fact I’ve been to the Airport Dike Trail a number of times before, I just could not find the trailhead today. Partly it was a matter of construction around intersections I normally use to get there. I tried several different routes but kept getting forced back onto to the main roads. It was like some wizard had come along and made the trailhead unplottable. My temper flared and I was very frustrated. I could have have turned around, gone home and grumbled for the rest of the day. Instead I took a deep breath and decided to go on the Brotherhood Bridge trail instead.

Juneau’s Bridge Trail is a paved path along the Mendenhall river just past Riverbend as you are driving out from town. It’s pretty enough, but I go there fairly often. It wasn’t quite what I was in the mood for, but I decide any walking was better than no walking. So I drove to the Dimond Park Field House and parked my car next to one of the entrances to the Brotherhood Bridge trail. I started walking, I quickly reached a pedestrian bridge over the Mendenhall River. I stopped for a moment mid stream to take in the mountains, the clouds and the river. Then I crossed to the other side and hung a left. I intended to go to the start of the trail, currently blocked by bridge construction. However, I noticed a dirt trail leading off to my right. I’ve noticed these turn offs for years, but never actually took one. Why not now? So I started down a well maintained dirt and gravel trail.

It blew me away almost immediately. Tall trees with the trail sloping up hill, a tributary stream to the Mendenhall clearly audible. Before I got too entranced, I called my spouse and let her know about my change in plans. When hiking in Alaska, you ALWAYS tell people where you are going and when you expect to be back. It’s just what we do and it has saved lives. Not telling people has ended lives. I would probably be ok, but why take chances?

After my spouse confirmed my change of plans, I continued walking. I set a timer for a half hour, because I still needed to be home in time to hand off the car. After the top of the hill, the view widened some and I saw that I was close to a swiftly flowing creek. The lack of still water may have contributed to the lack of flying insects. The path kept branching. There were a few places were it looked like the path might go back to pavement and I turned away from those. I had a great half hour and had walked more than a mile when my alarm chimed. I hadn’t found the end of this branch. So I headed back in the direction that I came. I resolved to take an exit out onto the paved path if the opportunity presented itself. After several branches, a way to the main path appeared and I took it. It turned out to be about five minutes down from when I entered the forest. I easily made it back to my car. I had a grand time and I’ll definitely be back on the next sunny weekend.

Moral of the story – I discovered whole new vistas because I was willing to set my anger at myself and frustration aside and try something different. It worked for me and I hope it works for you.


Juneau Airport Dike Trail

Unplotability, Harry Potter Wiki

Brotherhood Bridge Trail

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