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.

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.

Friday Walk Home

The weather here in Juneau, Alaska was so nice that I decided to walk home after work. Making this decision is also a decision to take the bus in the morning as I didn’t want to walk three miles both ways.

My walk took me along Juneau’s recently constructed Seawalk by the Douglas Bridge and over the bridge itself. I got what I thought were some good photos including:

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View from Juneau Seawalk
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Wandering footprints
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Looking from Douglas side of bridge

If you’d like to see the other photos I took on my home home, see my Friday Afternoon album on Google Photos.

Adding in the seawalk portion, it was about 3.5 miles from MPOW to home. I definitely felt it in my legs last night. But this was just the first walk home of the year. I’m assuming I’ll work my way up to feeling better after the walks. It sure is great while I’m walking!