August 3, 2010

East Glacier and Nugget Creek Trail

Last night after work Sarah and I felt the need to get into the woods. We decided that due to the awesome weather we were experiencing that East Glacier trail would be the best choice.
Well we were right and this may be my best shot of the glacier ever, as far as colors lighting and the whole scene. For my parents and any others that have lived here in the past this might be seen as a somewhat sad picture. The glacier has receeded so far!! The small rock outcropping on the left side that had started to poke its head out when I was younger is a full on peninsula now. There is a new small water fall on the right up against the ice and Nugget falls is a long way away. This shot, for those that know the area, is taken from the end of the little point in front of the visitor's center. After braving the tourist mobs and getting my shot, we headed up the trail.

Occasionally we ran into large groups of "tourons" being led by young wilderness guides working their summers in Alaska, but for the most part it was much quieter and less traveled than down by the buses. For those that do not know what a "touron" is, simply the words tourist and moron put together. This doesn't apply to all tourists, simply those that act as a moron while wearing matching jogging suits etc. etc.  This is just a little fun, so nobody get offended now!

If you step in front of my truck while I am driving down the road with a camera attached to your face while looking up at a mountain, you might be a touron. If you encircle a small cute black bear cub for the purpose of taking photographs to show your grandchildren while ignoring the rather upset momma bear behind you, you might be a touron. If while standing in the middle of modern downtown Juneau with its moderate "skyscrapers" and you ask me if I live in an igloo, you might be a touron. If you come into my business and ask me if we use American money, you might, hell, if you do any of these or a number of others that I have had the pleasure to are definitely a TOURON.  For those that learn of the area, travel smart, obey our customs, and don't liter or destroy our great wilderness, you are tourists and we love you, well at least your dollars.  Ha ha ha, just a little fun. Kinda sounds like a Jeff Foxworthy spiel.

Now, after that major divergence from the topic, back to the hike. We eventually did the entire 3 plus mile loop of East glacier, but we also ran up about 3 miles on the Nugget creek trail. The area was once a hydro plant and mining center at the turn of the century, but now it belongs to the bears. The entire under forest is carpeted in blueberry bushes and the trail was littered every few yards with an excellent samples of blueberry bear shit. Usually I am pretty comfortable in the woods, even when I see sign and know they are around, but this scene really set my nerves. I eventually did the smart thing and started clapping and yelling out "hey bear", simply because you can't see 10 feet in any direction. Gorgeous area though. The first thing we ran into is the old coffer dam build for hydro purposes, mind you this was built turn of the century and still stands, well sorta, didn't really want to try my luck and climb fully down in front of it. LOL
Due to my Proximity to the dam I wasn't able to get the whole thing in one shot, so this is a patched together shot. I took a total of 6 shots upper and lower and pieced them together. This is a new type of pano for me, and it takes some work but it seems to have pretty cool effects and gets large scenes into one total shot. Eventually I hope to do this work with photoshop and be able to achieve greater potentials, but at the time I am pushing the ability of my simple pano program to its limits.  After the dam the trail just runs up along the creek and deep into bear country.

After the hike we went down to see the bears fishing in Steep Creek by the visitor's center, but the throngs of tourists and their camera flashes made me feel sick about the whole situation, so we left and ate some bagels and hummus over by Skater's Cabin on the west side and called it a night. It is so awesome to be able to just hit the trail 5 minutes from home and enjoy this great land and its beauty and silence.