I've been sucked into the vortex of the last days, trying to see everyone and do everything. It's been a bit of a whirlwind, manic and subdued at the same time. But there is still time - really, there's always time - to get out for few hours and say goodbye to the quieter places that I keep close to my heart. One of my favorite places in Juneau is Blackerby Ridge, and a quick jaunt up there on an early April morning reminds me of the many things I am going to miss about Juneau:
The old-growth Sitka spruce trees, some of them eight feet in diameter, many of them just stumps now, but all a reminder of the richness of this land.
The first buds of spring, filling the air with sweet, succulent smells while hard, cold winter lingers just a few thousand feet higher.
Hard, cold winter, with a sharp wind blowing shards of ice along an open expanse of white. Juneau does get it sometimes, even in April, if you know where to look for it.
And that's what makes the Southeast Coast so unique in Alaska and in the world - this diversity of landscape wedged into a tiny geographical area. With the continental divide looming just a dozen or so direct miles from the coast, we have everything from marine shorelines to rich rainforests to swampy muskeg to alpine tundra to sweeping deserts of rock and ice, along with all of the crazy weather that accompanies such places. I'm going to miss it.
And of course, on more personal level, I'm going to miss Blackerby Ridge.