Friday, May 11, 2007

Mendenhall Glacier in Tongass National Park

After work Wednesday we made sandwiches and took off for the Mendenhall Glacier. There was only one cruise ship in town and they had been in port for most of the day so we figured that the tourists had already come and gone from the glacier and were probably all back on board eating their fresh Alaska salmon.

I had heard that this was a really good time to see ice bergs in the lake. We talked about walking back to the waterfall like we'd done a couple months ago. When we got there we walked over to look at the lake and saw some ice but nothing really impressive. I guess I was thinking it would be like a river break up full of huge chunks.

I had my birding guide with us and we read through it and found that one of the "birdest" places in Juneau was off one of the trails that we were right by. We didn't have a map and the map in the book wasn't that good but we thought we'd head in that direction and see what kind of signage we ran into.

We took the Moraine Ecology Trail and headed towards Norton Lake.

It was a little wet and we ran into some snow but it was a nice little loop trail through the moraine (as you might guess by the trail name). We thought we missed the cut off to Norton Lake when we ran into some signage and a little better map than we had. The book must be a little out of date because the two didn't jive but we did see that we could easily get to Moraine lake so we headed that direction. It looked like Norton Lake was a little more than we wanted to tackle this evening - we'll save it for a weekend when we can start earlier in the day.

We came across several small ponds that we thought might have some ducks in them but didn't see too much. You could really hear the varied and the hermit thrushes calling through. We did see robins and gold-crowned sparrows.

A lone mail buffelhead swam on Moraine Lake. Could be his mate was hidden in the woods. It was a pretty little lake - not very big. We ended up walking around it and stopped for a sandwich and veggies on the opposite side.

I'm pretty sure that you can access these lakes from two sides (click to see about where I think this is - not positive through) and we think it would be a pretty good place to do some mountain biking when we get our bikes down here.

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