Thursday, September 30

Out of Eden

I left Juneau yesterday. The 10:20 milk run had me landing in Seattle at 4pm, which was irritating when Lauren booked it, but the drawn out retreat from Southeast ended up being a good thing. I got to see a snippet of Sitka for the first time. My window seat was just over the front of the engine, and when the ground crews were doing their bit with the luggage, I was happy to see so many boxes filled with fish.

Next was a stop in Ketchikan, which gets more rain than Juneau, and it was pouring. Rain. So much rain in SE. We flew up over the cloud bank and for the next 90 minutes to Seattle it was all blue skies and bright sun. It was shocking to be in so much grey then so much blue.

I really love Juneau. I am going to miss it. Last year I didn't think I would be going back ever, but this year I'm not going to fool myself - I don't think it's possible to stay away from Juneau.

Sunday, September 26

Last week in Juneau

Only one more ship day. The Zaandam was supposed to come in today and the Star on Tuesday, but the heavy storm that came through SE made it delay it's docking until Tuesday also.

With the last ship day in sight, it seems like the whole town has been going out to celebrate. It seems like everyday is someone's last, and who knows when I'll see them again. Downtown is packed.

Today I got a call from Dan saying Violet broke while he was driving her home from Chicago. Water pump? Busted Radiator cap? Fly wheel? We'll see. Dan is staying an extra day in Chicago, hoping the car will be fixed tomorrow.

Saturday I will be home.

Wednesday, September 22

Taku lodge!

I got the unexpected pleasure of going on the Taku Lodge tour today with Lev and Wes. You can see the adventure if you visit my flickr set here.

Monday, September 20

Monday Football

Oh Monday, I don't think you're so bad :)

It was another wonderfully sunny day in Juneau. I walked to work and stopped for a cup of coffee. The A team was in the office: Lauren writing the schedule, Lev on the Ops board, Wes rounding up the dock reps, and me running between the dock, the office, and the occasional small transfer. We all had a blast down at the Zuiderdam, sending tours off on time and with happy guests, and making the best of the crazy shuttle madness that happens every time a ship docks at AJ.

For about two weeks, the ops team has been having trouble getting our act in gear to finish up the day together, without leaving anyone hanging out to dry with loads of work to do. We have all been getting reamed by 902, drivers are dropping like flies, AC is broken, people upset with tour distribution, too many hours to work in a day and not enough play; the burn out is running wild.

Maybe it's because today was the last Monday that we'd have a ship. Maybe it's because we were all jazzed to watch Monday Night Football, or maybe we finally remembered we are good at our jobs and those that don't think so can shove off. Maybe it's all of that.

Sure, we had to scramble when the Mountain Zip and Glacier tour over sold their max by 6 and we didn't have enough seats on the bus for the tour that was supposed to leave (what's that?) five minutes ago. Sure, when 281 broke down on the side of the road an hour after the shop said it was good to go, it took a minute to get another vehicle out to transfer the passengers to their Whales & Trails Adventure. But even with the awkward phone calls to the tour operators explaining the delay, there was no blame being thrown around. No rivalry to fan the flame.

Now is also the time where Year Reviews are being written and handed in to our bosses, telling them what we would like to see changed for next year. I've only been here 5 weeks, but those kinds of things (finding ways to make operations run better) gets me excited! I got an offer last week for a year round position up here, and even though I'm not taking it, I can't help but put my mind to work on things that will make next season better for whomever they find to work here. However we got here, today was a good day in the HAP office.

Or - maybe I'm so freaking happy because my fantasy team won (again) this week with 129 points to 78.

Here's hoping the last week is a good one!

Saturday, September 18

Another sunny day in Juneau

Today was the real mark of the end of the season: our first no ship day! With no ships in port, we all had the day off, and what a day off. Tressa, Ericka, and Hobbs (first name Andrew, but we never call him that) and I decided to hike Mt. Jumbo.
The trail is well marked, but steep in most points. After we cleared the tree line we got a view of the top, and from the spot in the picture below, we had 45 minutes of hiking before we got there.

At the top we had a feast of PB&Js, summer sausage, cheese and crackers, and bananas. That dog in the photo is not our. From the moment we started the trail head, this dog was right there with us. She continuously hoped we would throw her a stick, but with the climb, we weren't good for a game of fetch until the top. Half way down the mountain, we met up with her owner and got them reunited.

And then we were at the top! We could see all of downtown, but our motivation for this hike was a view of Admiralty Island, the one on the West side of Douglas.

There were some awesome small snow melt lakes.

Tuesday, September 14

Holiday cards

I haven't been sending letters very much recently, but that doesn't mean I've lost my love of great cards and stationary. Today I found a set of holiday cards that I am super excited to send out this year! I'm not sharing, just in case you are on the mailing list :)

Yay for the holiday season!

Monday, September 13

Monday never felt so good

With both ships and staff leaving, my days off have been rearranged this week. Today, instead of writing tomorrow's schedule, I'm off!

The weather is gorgeous again today, and days like today make it easy to, say, feel up for climbing a mountain. So, Mac and I climbed Mt. Roberts.

From the trail, there are gaps in the trees that give a view of the docks below and the rest of the channel, and the trail itself is pretty.

There is a trail by the tram called the Alpine trail where some carvings are highlighted.
For the rest of Monday, I'll be enjoying some football at the Island Pub, and get rested for tomorrow, the most stressful day of the week.

Sunday, September 12

Saturday afternoon hike

Lauren, Kristen and I went hiking yesterday on Perseverance trail. It is a beautiful 6 mile hike that leads back into the Silverbow basin where gold mining was prevalent in the early 1900's.

It was a gorgeous sunny day with temperatures in the mid 60's. We had a great time enjoying the sights and smells, as the trees had already started turning their falls colors in some areas.

The water that comes out of this valley is from several snow packs around Mt. Juneau and Mt. Roberts. Just behind these peaks is the gigantic Juneau Ice Field. The water, when pooled, is one of the bluest blues one can see in nature. The only other place I've seen water this color is at theme parks, and their's is dyed!

We saw bear tracks and scat, but thankfully no black bears!

All this is a right out of downtown Juneau. Take a 10 minute walk down the end of 8th street and you are at the trail head in the basin. Another 20 minutes up the beginning of the trail and you are surrounded by mountains and history. It is all so accessible. It is all beautiful. It's one of my favorite things about Juneau.

Saturday, September 11

Zip zip zip

Tressa and I went on the Canopy Zipline tour last week, and here are a few shots of our fun.

We were two people in a group of 6 that spent two hours zooming through the forrest around the historic Tredwell gold mine. 160 feet off the ground and the fastest zip being about 30 mph made it impossible to be stressed with work.

Tressa and I were silly and giggly the whole time - she was the perfect companion to have a treetop mini-adventure with.

Friday, September 10

Spirit party

The Carnival Spirit had its last stop in Juneau yesterday! One ship down, about 25 more to go! The ship hosted a party last night for the tour operators. For a few hours we could let go of some of the hostility involved with people selling more tickets than seats on the bus, and missed transfers, and angry phone conversations. And it gave us a reason to dress up a bit :)

These are the great dispatching crew I get to work with, as well as the dock reps that take the abuse of answering hundreds of questions from people who are lost on the dock.

18 days until the last ship day!

Tuesday, September 7

OPS meltdown

Today I felt like a circus sideshow. I knew going into a day with two Norweigen ships in the afternoon it would be crazy, but two pm ships plus 5 sick drivers made me, at one point, lay on the carpet and plug my ears. It was nonstop schedule changes and hole-filling from about 1130 to 1730 - and only then because the next dispatcher took over.

This is a job where a person is going full speed or dead. It feels like battle, and in the midst of it, nothing matters except the next transfer I need to cover, or finding a new bus for the one that just broke down. What am I supposed to do when there are no drivers and no buses?

But now, all the hard work I put in yesterday writing the schedule, and the work today into making it work, is over. Hundreds of people went on tours in Juneau and it all went off in a way that made them think they were the only person we had to think about - at least that's how I hope they felt. And it will all happen again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, and all next year.

I'm glad I only have to make it through three more weeks.

Friday, September 3

A little Juneau Flare

Remember the post from last summer where I tried to explain how Juneauites love their xtratuffs? When I was doing laundry yesterday, the bulletin board at the laundromat had this poster:

Isn't that great! I thought it the perfect poster for the event and the community, a little funny and it catches ones eye.

On my walk with Mac today, I saw another Juneau flare that differs from the lower 48: instead of having broken cars in the yard, they have broken boats! With no roads leading out of the town, I guess it makes sense.

And for the rest of our walk, we went down to work for a quick chat with Lauren, then went to Cope park, which is right out of downtown.

Isn't that wonderful!? The trail meets up with the Perseverance trail, but we didn't continue for those 6 miles. We needed to go home. I felt a little discomfort when we were hiking, but it wasn't enough to make me stop and take my shoe off. Turns out I popped one side of my toe nail off. Yikes!

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