Methodical hiking movements propelled my 10 year old son out above tree line within 45 minutes. Outstanding panoramic scenery of Juneau and Douglas Island were before us and he exclaimed, "Wow, Dad! I have never seen Juneau look like that!"
Before long we could see across the channel and beyond 3337' Mt. Jumbo to spot the pinnacles of Admiralty Island, which is also known as "the fortress of the bears." Above the trees, several streams cross the trail. They flow freely, right from the ground about 700' below the summit ridge. There is no reason to bring city water on this hike. We get it from the natural fountains along the way.
Local trail crews recently cut some new long switchbacks that criss-cross the face replacing the much steeper direct line bisecting the hillside. Because of the trail improvements, foot traffic increased immediately spurring new local interest. The new trail is cut of soft alpine tundra, spongy and springy under feet. Trail shoes grip with vigor and we find ourselves ascending with enthusiasm for the eloquence of height and exposure.
Two hours and fifteen minutes after leaving the parking lot we are perched at the summit blown away with the 360 degree views. This is a great dog route, but for those who desire a 15 mile epic, your adventure awaits! Here at the summit lies the corridor to Juneau's hidden gem -- the ridge lines that connect various mountain tops that dot our amazing backyard. The jagged skyline veers off in various and all directions, their destinations ended somewhere off in the panoramic distances and as far off as the eyes can see.
Is a five hour, fifteen mile run not your thing? Chasing the dall sheep on Mt Juneau's SE face is as succinct and stout as it gets. Animalistic bush whacking, alder scrub grappling, cliff scrambling, and exposure that causes shivers of fear, all awaits those who are willing to head straight up from downtown's trail head. STILL... THIS IS AS GOOD AS IT GETS. Let me know when you're ready to go for it. I'll be right over!!
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