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By Tara Zandra | September 25, 2012

The first part of our excursion involved a tour bus trip to Glacier Gardens in Tongass National Rainforest. When I hear rainforest, obviously I think of the Amazon. But apparently there is such a thing as a temperate rainforest and this is the largest one in the world. Who knew? (I’m guessing some of you). When we got to the gardens, we were put in the care of their guides. The first one told us a bit of the history of our Glacier Gardens came to be. Something about a mudslide in 1984. Then we were given over to another guide who took us up 600 feet in what they call a golf cart, but it sat 20 which would make it an odd golf cart. He pointed out a lot of the flora but was kind of shouting into his mic so I tuned him out mainly. We got to the top and it was raining harder. We get yet another guide who tells us what we’re seeing in the valley below. Now, on a clear day, this would have been a great view. But as everyone kept telling us over and over, they don’t really get clear days. Someone said they get twice as much rain as Seattle, but through the course of the day I’ve determined that Alaskan tour guides are a bunch of tall tale tellers, so I don’t know what was and wasn’t true. In any case, today it was raining. I took a few pics of the valley, but I seriously doubt anything will come through.

Upside down tree. Basically the plants at the top are planted within the roots of the tree. They mentioned them several times so I felt obligated to take a picture.



We were then given back to our golf cart driver who shouted at us some more on the way down. What I learned during my entire visit to the gardens was that there is a bush with quarter inch spikes- don’t touch those; it rains a lot here; skunk cabbage exists; and the owners of the gardens also own a landscaping business. Other than that, I couldn’t tell you much.

Now, I will say it wasn’t unenjoyable, per se, it just wasn’t a highlight and if it was a stand alone tour, I would have been sorely disappointed.

But onto our next stop! We got back into the bus where our friendly driver Hobbs took us to the Mendenhall Glacier area. He told us about the various paths we could take and what time to be back. We were to have 90-minutes total.

We walk up from the parking lot (now ensconced in dollar store rain gear) and see- glacier. Like right there. I mean, a bit aways, but it seemed like it was unbelievably close. We walked down to the lake’s edge and tried to take pictures with the glacier in the background. There was also one hunk of glacier ice on the shore so the kids got a close look at that.

I’m guessing you’ll see this one again on our Christmas card this year.


Rock or ice- she will conquer it and give you her “regal” look.


I always hated Smurfs.


We initially decided not to take the 2 mile walk as Daisy isn’t the best walker. But then we realized that trail took you right up to the base of the waterfall and as near to the glacier as you could get. So off we went to trudge through the rain! Daisy did wonderfully all the way there and we were all rewarded with an amazing scene. There we were at the base of a gorgeous waterfall in Alaska. Oh, and for good measure Mendenhall Glacier right next to us! Unbelievable! Moment of a lifetime.










But moments are fleeting and we had a bus to catch. We made it to the visitor’s center with 15-minutes to spare so we took a moment to dry out and then went out to the bus. We had an enjoyable ride back to the boat and then that was it! I wish it wasn’t raining so that my pictures could attempt to convey the wonder we all felt. But the memory will never leave me.

At this point it became apparent that Daisy had caught a cold. Because it wouldn’t be a Disney vacation without at least one kid getting sick. So the afternoon was spent on mundane things like laundry and fetching meds at the health center. After a couple hours, I got Daisy all dressed for pirate night and took her to have her pic with Chip and Dale, and Minnie, all dressed in pirate gear. I wanted her to wait for Peter Pan as well since her dress has Jake and the Neverland Pirates on it, but she said she was too tired to wait so we headed back to our stateroom to chill.






Chris and I chatted while I folded laundry, Daisy played DS, Tabi was off at a her club. Eventually it was time to make our way to dinner. We were in Parrot Cay tonight which I felt was appropriate for pirate night. Dinner was only so-so, unfortunately. Well, the appetizer and dessert were fantastic, actually. Gotta focus on positives.



Tabi ditched us again, so Chris and I took Daisy to the pirate party against her will. I was thinking she’d be into it once it started but that was a most emphatic no. So she and I are hanging in the room, I’m waiting for her antihistamine to kick in and then I’ll put her to bed. Chris is at Krazy Karaoke.



Tomorrow, our last day in actual Alaska.


Topics: Life, Disney Cruise |

One Response to “Juneau”

  1. Mel Says:
    September 25th, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    That glacier looks fantastic! I’ve been to a lot of stunning outdoor areas in the country but never been close to a glacier. Seattle gets over 3 feet of rain per year and it’s definitely a rainforest. You feel like it is for sure when it’s raining buckets when you wake up, all through the day, still going when you lay down to sleep and still going when you wake up again the next morning…it was just too much for us personally. Mold and mildew grows on everything, so disgusting. I will never live there again not for any amount of money. LOL