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Juneau

February 2, 2008

Juneau is a pretty interesting city. What other state capitol is accessible only by air or by water? Aside from that little factoid, Juneau also has a glacier that ends right in town. Seriously, I think it is so cool that an actual glacier ends right in Juneau.

So John and I got off the ferry and rode something like 14 miles into town. We were planning on staying at some hostel that I had found in one of my guide books. On the way into town, we passed by a bakery and I bought a loaf of fresh baked bread. We then found the hostel, but it wasn’t ready for folks to check in. We were supposed to come back later.

While we were wasting time in town, we stumbled across a bike shop. I don’t remember the name, but I do remember the sign that was in the window. “Closed for 1 week. At Industry Tradeshow”. Having just recently left the bike industry, I knew it was Interbike time.

While we were leering in the window, a youngish looking man walked by and asked us where we’ve been and where are we going? We told him. He said, “Well, you guys look legit. Do you need a place to stay?” We looked at each other and said sure. He walked us less than a block, opened up his door and said he’d be back after class.

Now keep in mind that we didn’t even exchange names. He just let us into his house. It was filled with kayaks, skis, tons of other outdoor equipment and a few computers. He had no idea who we were and he opened his home to us. Crazy.

So, being good mid western boys, we thought we’d return the favor. We cleaned the house, went to the grocery store, and cooked a spaghetti dinner with salad. The guy was shocked. He was living like a slob. I’m pretty confident his kitchen hadn’t been cleaned in several months.

That night we ended up hanging out exchanging stories late into the night. Turns out this guy had a PHD and was working as a janitor so he could live the life he wanted. I was impressed. He had done two crazy ski expeditions and also had done a bike tour, hence his willingness to let us in. By the end of this trip, this won’t be the first time someone takes us into their homes.

The next day we headed out to the Mendenhall Glacier park to camp. Go to this link to see a live webcam from the visitor center. Pretty cool. Turns out the place was closed. Too bad. We ended up staying anyway. Not everyday you can walk right up to a glacier and touch it.

We ended up staying there for 2 days. We stayed under a shelter so we wouldn’t have to set up our tent again. Turns out, we weren’t the only adventure folks staying here. This is where we met Pierz. Pierz was a young guy from the UK. He was a true adventurer. His dad was a UK equivalent to a Navy Seal. His sister was on the first UK all woman Everest Expedition (They didn’t make it).

Pierz spent the summer as a game scout somewhere in Canada. He’d get dropped off in the wilderness with a pack, food and a radio. He’d spend weeks, or even a month, tramping through the wilderness scouting game. He’d then radio in when he had found a “trophy” animal and then some rich dude would fly in and shoot it.

If you’ve been reading along since the beginning, you may remember my friends TS quote that has forever stuck in my head, “You drop a guy out in the wilderness naked with some basics to survive. If he walks out with a dead animal and some clothing, he’s a hunter!”

Well, two things come to mind regarding Pierz. First, Pierz is a hunter. If he got dropped off naked with a few supplies, he’d make it out clothed and healthy. Second, every time I see a trophy animal, I think of all the Pierz’s out there that made that trophy kill possible.

Here’s my only remaining picture of Pierz. We are way up above the face of the Mendenhall Glacier. Imagine, it was raining.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Guitar Ted permalink
    February 2, 2008 5:29 am

    Looking at your picture, I’d say you looked pretty “legit”. (I really am sincere, not being sarcastic at all) When I toured it was the opposite. I looked totally scary! Probably why the only folks that would talk to us were curious kids. No way would anyone let me and the guys I was with in the house!

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