Juneau: Climb Every Mountain!

With special thanks to Slice of Life for giving writers inspiration, space, and voice

Slice of Life Day 22 of 31: Journeys (my March theme)

Juneau, Alaska is a state capital that cannot be reached except by boat or plane. No one gets there by car because no roads lead to Juneau. Another seldom-realized fact about Alaska is that the shortest distance between Alaska and Russia is only 2.5 miles – frightening in times like these.

I visited Juneau, Alaska in May 1998 while on an Inside Passage cruise with my family. Mendenhall Glacier was pristine and beautiful, and the salmon hatchery was educational. I learned to spot bald eagles when the tour guide told us to “look for golf balls in the trees,” and they would be the heads of eagles. It worked, every time!

Mallory and Marshall at Mendenhall Glacier – Juneau, Alaska, May 1998

But my favorite part of Juneau was a ride up the Mount Roberts Tramway, where two of our children enjoyed playing in a dusting of snow and watching wildlife at the top of the mountain overlooking the port of Juneau. We saw signs letting us know which wildlife species we were likely to see that day – among them, the red squirrel. We’d become proficient at spotting eagles, so we looked forward to seeing some other cold climate creatures – we just didn’t want to encounter any bears along the mountain trails, and thankfully we didn’t.

The perspective high above the port overlooking the city below was breathtaking, and I fully appreciated the majestic beauty of the “eagle’s eye view” in those moments. I also understood, standing on that mountain with my children playing in the magical snow and watching squirrels, why having my feet on the ground is equally as beautiful. The lyrics of Climb Every Mountain were belting out from my heart across the snow-capped Alaskan peaks as if I were standing in Austria singing with all of the passion and none of the voice talent of Mother Abbess……hence the video version below:

I do not own rights to this music but share for experiential purposes only on a non-profit blog


Snowball fight, anyone?
Red Squirrel in Alaska

Isaiah 52:7

7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

18 Replies to “Juneau: Climb Every Mountain!”

    1. Kristi, I’ll be posting about Skagway tomorrow. It was my favorite stop on the inside passage. Coldest I’ve ever been in my life. I was shocked about the short distance between those Diomede Islands, because I really felt 1200 miles away, even farther, from Russia while I was traveling. My hat is off to you for braving that much cold. I shiver just thinking about it.

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  1. Kim, you have me thinking about how different those glaciers must have looked in 1998 compared to when we visited Alaska (also an inside passage cruise) a few years ago. There’s a place called Two Top where we used to snowmobile up around Island Park (close to Yellowstone), and your descriptions remind me of its beauty.

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  2. It’s a stunning place, Alaska – my husband and oldest son went on a mission trip to Juneau years ago and videoed whales so close to the boat. Breathtaking. The word that comes to mind from reading your post is “majesty.” The mountains, glaciers, eagles… and certainly Mother Abbess. How could one’s heart NOT sing in such a place?? Thank you for these glorious images and for sharing the journeys of your heart as well, all tied with Scripture. So uplifting-

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    1. Thank you, Fran. I wanted to whale watch so badly, but that tour was sold out by the time we decided what to do. We could see them from the boat on occasion. Our son learned about the boy who cried wolf. He would say he saw a whale, and we would all come running and then he would laugh, the little stinker. When there was finally a whale, we didn’t figure out it was really there until he kept insisting. I can only imagine that your husband and son beheld such spectacular whale action there in the cold waters of Alaska!

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  3. My daughter just accepted a job as a dog musher in Juneau, so I loved reading your slice. Thank you for carrying me along on your memory tour. You write beautifully and I have a lovely sense of a great adventure in her future from your slice. Thank you!

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    1. I’m thrilled for her new opportunities! There is so much to see and do. My father in law wanted to go drive a bus for tourists up there he loved it so much, but my mother in law would not leave Georgia. A dog musher sounds so full of adventure. Please slice on it and keep us posted on her experiences. I can’t wait to hear!

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  4. Alaska has been on my bucket list for a long time. Your description of Juneau and visit there makes me want to make it a reality soon. My husband is a mountain man, and I have grown to love being in the mountains after many years of hiking and visiting mountains with him. I think John Muir says it best–“The mountains are calling and I must go.”

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      1. I’m my gosh, that sounds like a great idea. You could totally do that. Keep writing posts like this and you’ll have a portfolio to share.

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  5. I love the quote from Isaiah, and Juneau looks like quite an adventure. I have always wanted to go to Alaska. Hawaii and Alaska are the only states I have not yet traveled to. I am losing track of all my travels. I think I might steal your idea and write about my past journeys. It is a good way to keep the memories alive. Thank you.

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  6. Thank you so much! I chose the theme of journeys for the month feeling that the well would not run dry, and now I want to extend it later this year. I’ve enjoyed reflecting. 48 states for you??!! Oh, yes – please slice them for us to see the travels!

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  7. Some more “huh” responses from me. I grew up in Juneau. One of my brothers has lived in Skagway *forever*, and another brother lived in Ketchikan for a time (he now lives in Sitka). You capture a lot of the essence so well.

    I also appreciate how you end each of your posts with a connection to a Bible verse!

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