Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, and a Relaxing Evening

Today, I set off on a Silversea tour of Mendenhall Glacier and several areas outside the city of Juneau, Alaska. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Today, I set off on a Silversea tour of Mendenhall Glacier and several areas outside the city of Juneau, Alaska. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

It wasn’t raining when Silversea’s Silver Shadow first maneuvered alongside in Juneau, Alaska. But by the time the first lines had been cast ashore at our Berth B location near the southern end of downtown, our liquid sunshine was back in full-force.

Despite the rain, this morning I set off on my first Silversea shore excursion in Alaska – and my first-ever excursion in Juneau!

Disembarking Silversea's Silver Shadow on a wet morning in Juneau... Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Disembarking Silversea’s Silver Shadow on a wet morning in Juneau… Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

...and boarding our coach for our 3.5-hour long tour of the areas outside of the city. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

…and boarding our coach for our 3.5-hour long tour of the areas outside of the city. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Silversea offers a total of 24 different excursions here, ranging in price from $49 per person to $2099 per person. At $79, my 3.5-hour Best of Juneau and Salmon Hatchery tour was very affordably priced. One thing I have always found in Alaska is that the cost of shore excursions can be disproportionately high when compared to other regions of the world. But for a luxury line, Silversea has a great mix of options, with most tours coming in under $200 per person.

With the rain pelting down on our windows, we drove to the first of three separate stops that our late-morning tour would make.

Mendenhall Glacier is breathtaking, viewed from up-close...Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Mendenhall Glacier is breathtaking, viewed from up-close…Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

...and afar. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

…and afar. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Mendenhall Glacier is one attraction I’ve always wanted to see in Juneau. In fact, I think nearly every first-time visitor goes to Mendenhall except for me. I’ve never seen the need to, because most Alaskan cruises include glaciers as part of their trip. Why pay to go see another? This trip, however, our only glacier is in Tracy Arm – which is notoriously difficult to get to view successfully – so I decided to ensure I’d get to see one.

The lowdown on Mendenhall? It’s beautiful, and well worth a visit. The Mendenhall Glacier Visitor’s Center was first opened in 1962, and the center provides an excellent map showing the glacier’s rapid retreat. In 1942, Mendenhall Glacier would have stretched right up to the steps of the center; now, it rests about three miles back from it. The center notes that for the glacier to stop retreating, significant changes to current global warming trends would be required. It’s a bit frightening to think, but at its current rate of retreat, I may live to see the day when Mendenhall becomes nearly invisible from the visitor’s center.

Situated on a bluff overlooking the glacier, the Visitor's Center keeps guests dry during inclement weather. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Situated on a bluff overlooking the glacier, the Visitor’s Center keeps guests dry during inclement weather. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

It also houses a number of interesting exhibits, and gives you the chance to touch ice that is hundreds of years old. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

It also houses a number of interesting exhibits, and gives you the chance to touch ice that is hundreds of years old. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

There are also five separate hiking trails at Mendenhall - but take the appropriate precautions! Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

There are also five separate hiking trails at Mendenhall – but take the appropriate precautions! Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

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Our Live Voyage Report onboard Silversea’s luxurious Silver Shadow continues tomorrow as we spend the day riding the rails in the historic Gold Rush town of Skagway! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.

 

One Response to Silver Shadow Live Voyage Report – Day 4

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