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.

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.

Unplotable Trail Leads to Hidden Vistas

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

References:

Juneau Airport Dike Trail

Unplotability, Harry Potter Wiki

Brotherhood Bridge Trail

Day 3: Of Hiking and Makerspaces

grouse

Today I hiked the Perseverance Trail in Juneau, Alaska. Along the way I caught this fuzzy picture of a grouse running away from me. I’ve seen more grouse on the trail this year. Not sure if there really are more or if I’m just noticing them more.

If you come to Juneau and you’re in moderate physical condition, I strongly recommend this trail. It is three miles long and offers some great waterfall views as well as a number of mining artifacts. It is up and down but at no point does it shift from walking to climbing. Though if you want to climb, that is easily arranged. Branching off from the Perseverance Trail at the Mt. Juneau Trail, a difficult trail with about a 10 hour round trip and the Granite Creek Trail, which is a vigorous but not uber-difficult hike into a basin with a couple of ponds.

I started my morning by taking the main trail. Parts of the trail have been covered with broken rocks and there is almost always a threat of more coming down. Much of the trail is along the swiftly flowing Gold Creek. One simply must pause from time to time to enjoy the flow of rushing water. The trail is in a canyon/basin, so beautiful snow topped mountains were bearing down on me each step of the way. There is a hill at the end of the current trail that I paused at for a few minutes to take a drink of water and to photograph the grouse above.

I finished my hike earlier than I expected to. I covered the six mile round trip in two hours twenty minutes rather than the three to four hour time frame I had given myself. So I decided to go to Community Day at the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) in order to visit the Juneau Makerspace booth. I had learned about their presence through their Facebook page. I drove the 15 or so miles from the trailhead to UAS and counted myself blessed to find a parking spot close to the festivities. My hike had left my stomach growling, so the Makerspace booth with not my first stop. I found a place that was making bratwurst dogs. It barely fit the bun and the sauerkraut and mustard were great finishing touches. It practically melted in my mouth and let me focus on the faire.

Juneau Makerspace is just getting started. They don’t have a permanent home yet but have incorporated as a non-profit. I need to donate to them. Today they were demonstrating a 3D printer that seemed reasonably speedy. It wasn’t a Makerbot, but I’m not sure what brand it was. They also had the parts to wooden toolboxes that kids were putting together with the help of adults. I watched for a bit and introduced myself to the people in the booth. As a librarian tasked with tracking emerging tech and trends, I have an interest in the makerspace movement. Though as someone with too much stuff in his house already, I’m not sure how much I’ll be making for myself. Though I would like to help make stuff for others.

It looked like the kids had things covered for building the toolboxes so I drifted away from the booth. I noticed that Coppa – my favorite ice cream place in Juneau had a booth. So I had to have a Belgian chocolate ice cream cone. I could have had Devil’s Club or Spruce Tip ice cream, but today I played it safe. Perhaps next time I drop by the main shop.

And that’s Day 3 of this installment of “Write Every Day.”

References:

Perseverance Trail, Juneau Alaska

Juneau Makerspace on Facebook

Days in the Sun April 2015

I’ve just gotten back from a literary happy hour sponsored by the Juneau chapter of Alaska’s 49 Writers. Once again I heard advice to “write every day, whether you feel inspired or not.” This time, the advice came from humor writer and blogger Libby Bakalar.  I decided I’m going to try to this and you’re my willing (cause I’m not forcing you to read this) victims of zeroth draft writing.

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Today I’d like to write about something I did on a rare sunshine day here in Southeast Alaska.

I have a lot of leave saved up on work and when I saw that Friday was going to be sunny, I got permission to take the afternoon off. I brought in my hiking backpack and a change of clothes. I stayed at work through lunch, then went to the bathroom to change into my hiking outfit. It was then I realized I didn’t have a hat, but I wasn’t going back home from it.

I work in downtown Juneau and was hiking the Perseverance Trail. In past years I could get to the end in about an hour and a half, so I told my spouse I’d be back in about three hours. I left my building, headed over to Gold Street and started up the hill. I’m not sure of the exact grade of the hill, but it was very steep. So steep that parts of the sidewalks turn into stairs. It was something of a hike just to get up to Basin Road, the relatively level road that leads to the trail head. I stopped for a few minutes to catch my breath and to look down the Gastineau Channel. There was nothing in the but what locals like to call blue clouds. The waters far below sparkled blue. The beige, yellow, blue and red buildings of downtown looked cheerful.

Once I was ready to walk more, it was time to walk about 10 minutes to the trail head, which is marked by a massive yet rusting air compressor. I walked past that to a mine entrance with fresh “DO NOT CROSS” yellow tape across the entrance. Than I turned and took the trail proper. For a late April hike, the trail was extremely dry. No having mud wash up over my hiking boots into my sock. No giant sucking sound trying to claim my boots for the muskeg. Just more or less easy walking under a blue sky.

I say more or less, because landslides had crossed the trails in the past few years. New paths were constructed, but there was still piles of splintered rock to pick through. As I made my way past these bits, I looked up and saw a rocky overhang with deeply embedded tree roots. To my untrained eye, it seemed like that end of the bank could collapse any time as well. I hope there are no hikers on the trail when it does.

Perseverance Trail crosses a stream a number of times. Today I spent some time stopping at a few swirling spots in the stream where the water played round and round rocks before moving on. I took pictures of the trails, of the still snow covered mountains. It felt like a great day to be out, though I wished for my hat on the sunny portions.

Overall, the trip was taking me longer than I thought. I had been hiking for about two hours when I realized that I wasn’t going to make the end of the trail this time. I decided to turn around in hopes of catching a ride from my spouse who I thought would be getting off work about the time that I got back. I returned by the way of Red Mill trail. It ran along the hillsides and was considerably wetter than that Perseverance had been. Sometimes I couldn’t avoid walking through a small stream. That’s why I wear waterproof hiking boots.Although the trail was wetter, I was rewarded with great views of Silverbow basin and the tiny ribbon of Perseverance way below me.

Eventually Red Mill joined up with Perseverance again. I was running late and I was worried my spouse would leave without me. I had my cell phone with me, but about 90% of the trail has no signal whatsoever. This might surprise people in more urban areas, but we have plenty of areas, especially in valleys where no cell signal can penetrate. Often I find this a blessing. Friday it was a problem, but not a life threatening one. I continued to enjoy the sun, the birds, the plants – even the skunk cabbage — but picked up my pace in hopes of finding a spot where I could get any cell reception before my spouse left work. Finally at 4:25, I had two bars on my phone. That was enough. I let her know when I’d be back in town and she agreed to wait for me. I told her I should be there in 20 minutes. It was more like 40, giving me a total round trip time of four hours. I was drained, not usual for me on this trail, but it was the first big hike of the season. I was very happy I went and that was usual. Hiking is glorious here when the weather cooperates.

As I write this Sunday afternoon, it is windy with moderate rain. Hiking weather for some in Southeast Alaska, but not for me. This is writing weather.