Friday, October 13, 2006

Elevation's good

Ever since I learned the reality of fog in this area, I can't wake up to a view of blurry cloud cover and not feel the instant urge to head up. The fog here starts thick, and with temperatures in the 40s, could stick around all day. But I'm greedy and when I know the sun is up there, somewhere, I can't just let it hang out alone. So Geoff and I headed up Mount Jumbo, right here on Douglas Island and towering over our house every day. We rode to the trailhead and pounded out a quick "Pre-Mets-Game" hike. This is my Juneau-peak-bagging photo essay #2.

We finally started to see sunlight emerge from the fog at about 1,000 feet ... just about the time I was starting to get worried.

First view

I think this shot is interesting because I'm accustomed to hiking peaks in Utah, where everything is 11,000 feet high. So today, after we began to emerge from treeline, I saw this exact view and told Geoff it was going to take me all day to get up there. But this became a good example of how much my perspective has changed to accommodate the smaller open spaces of southeast Alaska. From here, it was less than 35 lumbering minutes to the top.

Mount Jumbo is still 3,500 feet high. For starting at sea level ... and walking up a trail only 2.5 miles long ... that's not too shabby.

Coming down was much harder and actually took longer than going up. I fell five times. Steep and slippery are not my allies.

This is the view looking across the channel to downtown Juneau just as the fog finally began to move on. The mountain directly behind it is Mount Juneau, which I climbed to the top of just Sunday.

It's funny to talk about all this sunny madness because, as far as I can tell, Juneau is about the only place in the country where the weather is nice right now. Southcentral Alaska is swimming in floodwater. The Northeastern United States is being deluged by rain. A major cold snap in the Lower 48 has been sending snow to the Midwest. It's all relative, really. I'm writing about a "perfect weather" day that featured temperatures in the low 40s and thick gray fog below 1,000 feet. But I've learned to appreciate it for what it's not.


  1. Ok -- so that's gorgeous. I am insanely jealous.

    Plus what -- that's a steep little hike. That could make a great daily workout.

  2. Wow.
    You know where I live there aren't any mountains! AT all. The TopEnd of the NT in Australia is flat. Very flat! Those views are incredible. I have a lot of beauty around me here but sometimes I'd just like to climb a peak


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