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Floating Icebergs at Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau, Alaska

Notice the large icebergs floating in Mendenhall Lake at the base of Mendenhall Glacier. Witnessing them being created is very exciting. The process is called calving. First, there is a loud noise resembling an explosion. The sudden sound can be startling. Then, watch in awe as a massive sheet of ice and rock breaks off […]

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Mendenhall Glacier Terminus Features near Juneau, Alaska

This terminus of Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau shows several glacial features. At this ablation zone, the tidewater glacier will shed large sheets of ice into Mendenhall Lake. This process is called calving. Notice the complex structure of ridges, facets, crevasses and suncups that reflect the color blue. The black streaks are crushed sediment and rock […]

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Whale Watching Boat near Juneau, Alaska

A very popular excursion near Juneau is a half-day whale watching tour in Stephens Passage. The humpbacks spend their summer in Alaska feeding on krill and tiny fish. It is hard to believe that such a small food source can help these mammals reach up to 75,000 pounds. But they need the extra weight for […]

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Vegetation along Mendenhall Lake near Juneau, Alaska

This view of Mendenhall Lake’s vegetation is beautiful but it also tells a story. The ice-marginal lake was formed by the nearby retreating glacier. During this glaciation process, it exposes rock while depositing layers of sediment called moraine. Over time, mosses will be the first to grow over the barren zone followed by light-colored vegetation. […]

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Tongass National Forest Rainforest Vegetation near Juneau, Alaska

Across 17 million acres of land, the Tongass National Forest provides a rare combination of glaciers, lakes, islands, fjords, waterfalls, mountains and beautiful rain forests. Its lush vegetation consists of western hemlock, western red cedar and sitka spruce that tower over a carpet of green moss. The U.S. Forest Service has created an amazing network […]

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Sockeye Salmon in Red Spawning Stage near Juneau, Alaska

This sockeye salmon lived for years in the Pacific Ocean before traveling upstream to the fresh water of Steep Creek. During the spawning process they turn this red color. Shortly afterwards, they acquire white patches before dying, a reproductive event called semelparity. This lifecycle is essential to Southeast Alaska. The sockeye, along with four other […]

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Platform Over Steep Creek near Juneau, Alaska

Steep Creek is a fast moving but shallow flow of fresh water in the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area that is ideal for salmon spawning. The sockeyes or red salmon arrive in mid-July. The coho or silver salmon appear in mid-September. Several platforms are available along The Trail of Time and East Glacier Trail to enjoy […]

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Pair Bald Eagles on Harbor Beacon near Juneau, Alaska

Gastineau Channel around Juneau, Alaska, is dotted with harbors to accommodate any sized vessel … from a large cruise ship to the smallest fishing boat. But the best fishermen at Auke Bay, particularly during low tide, are the American bald eagles. This pair perched on a navigation beacon was not a chance sighting. There are […]

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Nugget Falls Cascading into Mendenhall Lake near Juneau, Alaska

As the Nugget Glacier melts, forming Nugget Creek, the water rushes down a mountain within the Tongrass National Forest until it plummets 377 feet during two stages into Mendenhall Lake. The result is a spectacular roar of mist. From there, the fresh water joins with the runoff of Mendenhall Glacier and travel towards the Mendenhall […]

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Mountain Fog and Clouds in Juneau, Alaska

Most people mistakenly believe that all of Alaska is cold, especially in the winter. However, Juneau enjoys a mild, maritime climate thanks to its location on the Gastineau Channel, being nestled among five steep mountains and its proximity to the Pacific Ocean. But it also rains for two-thirds of the year. The wettest months are […]