(Hostel) Room mate noises


Day 75.
Petersburg AK.
End: Juneau AK.

The smell of new sheets and the sound of bears in this hostel room. Growling in the dark, these beasts keep me awake and attentive. Until I grab my ipod, the hours will only drag by, my hand wandering through the bottom of my bag.

The morning brought a cool wind. Blowing off the water and running through the wind chimes, the atmosphere turned zen-like and relaxing. I immediately looked down my sleeping bag, feeling the cloth for any sign of moisture. Being the first time in a while sleeping within our tent, the enclosure must have retained some heat as there was no condensation on my bag. Relieved and excited to snap some photos, I jumped out and stuffed the bag away, packing everything in a hurry.

Helena then met us on the deck, greeting us and offering us some tea. As we packed and sipped the warm liquid, I would take a couple seconds to look out over the water, taking in the scenery and enjoying the moment in time. As letting us stay in her yard and feeding us some King crab wasn’t enough, Helena then began to offer us some gear to borrow. We followed her down stairs and she began to dig around. Pulling out two backpacks and tossing them our way, she said we can borrow them and send them back when the journey was over. Having spent a couple days lugging this duffel bag on my shoulders, as large as my torso and just as awkward, I was so happy to agree to the deal. Dirk and I looked at each other, agreeing without words that Helena is a bad ass woman. We laughed and began to repack our gear, leveling out the weight between the bags. Trying them out, I don’t think I have seen Dirk smile that much in a while.

Looking out the window as we drove back into town, I watched the sights behind me fading away, holding tight to them in my memory. Helena pointed out some shops and pulled into her regular morning coffee shop. We jumped out and snapped a few photos before she turned around toward work. Dirk and I continued into town on foot, hungry and eager to hike a nearby trail, we picked up the pace. Doughnut and coffee in hand, we set out for the coast.

The tide was coming in with a current so furious. Fixated on a fisherman in the distance, we both noticed his back and fourth movement on the water. He would speed up to only drift back to were he started, a frustrating dilemma I can imagine. Helena had told us the intense tide changes along the inside passage of Alaska was second to any in the world. With a rise and drop of more than 20 feet, the retreat of the water left the shore bare. The mountains in the distance, white and jagged, rose above the horizon to upscale the land. The Devil’s Thumb, a landmark in the distance, gave the panoramic shot I was taking some much needed character. Looking through the telephoto lens, I can only imagine the rush of mountaineering, something I may want to pursue later in my life.

The time ticking down, Dirk and I made our way back to the ferry terminal before we found ourselves late. With the new packs still waiting for us in Helena’s trunk, we payed a last visit. Hellos and goodbyes, we set out with a comforting weight on our backs. Feeling optimistic about our day, we booked our tickets and boarded the vessel. This being an express ferry, we were expected to arrive in Juneau in four hours, half that of the regular duration. Upon boarding we met Kelly and Glenda, husband and wife on their way to Juneau. What started as a waiting room discussion, turned into a four hour meet and greet. We bumped into each other all over on board. Spending most of my time wandering, camera in hand and eyes watching for interesting shots, Kelly and I was always exchanging some words. Nearing the end of the trip, an unexpected question was tossed my way. Dirk and I was invited by the couple into town. They had other plans, but were more than happy to help us out being that there was a 14 mile walk  from the ferry terminal into town. I tried to keep my composure as I walked over to dirk to tell him the news, words moving so fast I had to repeat myself twice.

As we all jumped in the red SUV, maps went flying and the gps was pulled out. We were on our way to the Alaskan Brewing Co. An unexpected trip that both Dirk and I was more than willing to tag along to. Opening the door, the smell of beer and laughter of people flooded out. We filed in and began to taste the free beer that was presented to us. With the history of the facility and 6 small beers down, we headed to the Mendenhall Glacier. As we approached the terminal from the ferry, the glacier could be clearly seen. A mass of white covering what seemed like a mountain sized piece of land, nestled behind the commotion of the town. Up close, I couldn’t believe the size of this mass of ice. Approaching it, the air chilled as the wind swept off the ice and on to us. I was utterly speechless. No words can describe its beauty. A mass of white and blue, so thick and jagged I couldn’t quite take enough photos.

Our time with Kelly and Glenda would end with the ride into town. Navigating through the small steep streets of Juneau, we came upon our hostel. An old building with a bright yellow paint job. Again we would say goodbye to kind people that helped us along our way. Waving as they drove away, we turned to enter the house.

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