January 29, 2012

Wrangell and Juneau, Alaska

My first work related travel of 2012 consisted of a trip to Southeast Alaska to make two site visits. The first site visit was to Alaska Island Community Services in Wrangell, AK.

I've been to Wrangell three times before; but, I was looking forward to visiting new staff at AICS in "warmer" than Anchorage temperatures. Although the staff was new and were great to work with, the temperatures were just slightly warmer than Anchorage. While it was around -15 in Anchorage, temps in Wrangell were in the low single digits...an extremely rare occurrence in Wrangell. Go figure.

I stayed at the wonderful Rooney's Roost Bed & Breakfast, my favorite place to stay in Wrangell. Although very cold and windy, the skies were crystal clear the entire time we were in Wrangell, a huge plus for a community that can be immersed in fog. I'd rather have the cold and wind.

(The Diamond C Cafe is where we ate breakfast every morning. The coolest thing about this place? They used an iPad to take orders and as the cash register...who would have thought innovative use of technology is currently happening in Wrangell?) 

After spending a couple days in Wrangell, we packed our bags and headed to Juneau for a site visit at Bartlett Hospital. Juneau was also very cold and windy. We stayed at the Silverbow Inn in downtown Juneau. A beautifully restored boutique bed and breakfast, the best part about staying at the Silverbow Inn is the coupon that allows guests to order an unlimited free breakfast every morning at the Silverbow Bakery and Restaurant. Free breakfast?! Yes...and I took advantage of the barista behind the counter that kept asking "Is that all you want?"

Juneau was also very beautiful for most the time we were in town. Although I have been to Juneau numerous times, I was fortunate to travel with a coworker who is from Juneau. She showed us around Juneau and Douglas and took us to restaurants where I had never before eaten...a definite plus.

(I ordered the venison burger from the Sandpiper Cafe. Yum!)

(Mendenhall Glacier is in the background of this picture, which was taken 
from Douglas Island, across Fritz Cove from Juneau)

(This is the "end of the road" on Douglas Island. There are not many places outside Alaska where you literally come to the End.)

The last two days, winds picked up to around 75-80 mph causing all flights in and out of Juneau to be canceled. Our scheduled flight leaving Juneau for Anchorage on Friday night was the first flight to leave Juneau in two days. Whew!

Southeast Alaska is one of my favorite places in the world. I love the rich Tlingit and Haida culture mixed with deep Russian influences. With the Tongass National Forest spread throughout the region and surrounding the Inside Passage, nowhere else in the world offers a landscape with mountains, seawater and rainforest.

After a week of traveling Southeast Alaska, I was happy to get on a plane that was not delayed/canceled and head back to Anchorage.