Night sights from February 2019

Caption: First street in Douglas Alaska, February 7 2019. Freshly ploughed parking lot.

Caption: Looking south from first street

I’ve been fairly captivated with Google’s Night Sight feature since it first came to my Pixel phone. I think it provides surprisingly clear detail and color in low light conditions and I just love what it does for my neighborhood in winter.

Both of the photos above were taken in February 2019. We have roughly the same amount of snow now.

The Sea Claims a Skiff

Caption: Sandy Beach “Mussel Boat” – ok, I don’t know what shellfish they are. 2/2/2020

I enjoy walking, but I don’t enjoy walking through snow much. Over time I’ve figured out that near low tide is a GREAT time to walk in winter if you have access to a beach. The sea wipes away the snow on the beach twice each day.

There was a break between snowstorms on Sunday and low tide was listed for 1pm or so. So about 11:30 I drove my car over ¼ mile or so of snow, parked my car and walked across the small strip of snow to the beach. It was so liberating for me to walk without worrying about slidey ice, or grippers or anything else. The sun was sorta out and it was mid 20s F. It was a beautiful day for Juneau Alaska.

The low tide was a negative tide. When I was out on the beach, it was minus 3.5 feet. That is, 3.5 feet below the mean sea level. That was enough to uncover the skif above. Pretty much completely covered in shells. If you looked really closely, you can see a few parts of the original boat showing through:

Caption: parts of the bones of the boat showing through the shells.

Here’s a different angle of the whole boat I found interesting:

Caption: Shell encrusted boat with Mt. Roberts in the background.

Old skifs claimed by the sea weren’t the only things on offer. The sky and mountains were pretty amazing too:

Caption: Sandy Beach, looking south.

If you’re on a wintery seashore, give a low tide walk a try. I hope you find it as relaxing as I do.

Caption: Sandy Beach decayed pilings, dark skies and snowy mountains.

Dependable Surf Scoters

Birds on water.

Surf Scoters, Gastineau Channel, January 23, 2011

I use Google Photos as my primary photo backup. The program “assists” me with stylized photos, offers to rotate photos, make photo books, etc. Sometimes I find it helpful and sometimes not. Another hit and miss feature that I choose to leave turned on is “Rediscover this day ….”

Recently, I got a hit. At least to me. The picture above is from nine years ago. Shortly after Google Photos brought this to mind, I looked out my back window onto the Gastineau Channel and saw another flock of surf scoters bobbing in the water. I didn’t get a photo of surf scoters 2020. I was comforted by the cycle of nature. Though it is far from Spring, these birds are a herald that warmer weather and more light awaits.

Grand Princess, 9/29/2019

This post is a test of posting from my phone.

I might start using my phone when I only have a few photos or a limited amount to say about them.

In late September in Juneau Alaska, the cruise ship season is winding down. This ship is the Grand Princess. Yesterday was the last of her weekly stops for 2019.

The weather has also turned. Or perhaps I should say “returned.” It’s gray and rainy. Most years this is unremarkable to say this as it’s mostly gray and rainy. This year we had a remarkably bright and warm summer so the transition to a few weeks of dark rainy days seems harsh.

But we need the rain. Aside from our vegetation, Juneau needs more rain to keep the hydro in hydropower.

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.


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.