Lyfted up

Monday, August 1, was a busy chore day with a wet ending. Walt and I trudged up from the Auke Bay docks to the parking area and then up the hill to the bus stop, where we caught the bus to the local Fred Meyer store. I picked up the prescription that was waiting for me at the pharmacy (I was given only 30 tablets, however, when I’d requested 90, and so am having to order again), and we then purchased most of the rest of the supplies needed for the next several weeks of boating and filled five large, heavy shopping bags. Walt phoned for a Lyft so we wouldn’t have to walk so far with such a load, and we were back at the docks in no time after a second pleasant ride through the beautiful countryside. The clouds lifted enough now and then for me to see snow patches on some peaks and waterfalls twisting down their flanks.

After lifting and loading our purchases into Braesail and then unloading and storing them, Walt left to make his way to COSTCO to pick up HIS medications and some more groceries, on foot, by folding bike, and on the bus, and I pulled our folding cart filled with two weeks of washing to the laundromat about a mile from the boat. I spent 40 quarters on the job as I had in Ketchikan (a large load of laundry cost $3.50 and dryers cost 25 cents per minute), and carted the results back to the boat as a light drizzle turned to a heavy one that turned into real rain. By the time Walt arrived with all the items that he could transport on the bike, his windbreaker was rather damp and he was too! I was glad that he’d returned safely after a soggy three hours away.

Today, August 2, we slept very late after our exertions of the previous day. Rain pelted the harbor until about 4 pm, when a few thin streams of sunlight trickled down the mountain slopes and spilled into the water, and some snow-swathed summits glanced briefly over the shores before pulling the clouds over their heads once more.

A short period of clearing allowed me to see the mountains surrounding Juneau from Braesail’s deck

Walt and I spent most of the day in travel planning for the next several weeks (we might be back in Prince Rupert, B.C., by the 22nd of August), I caught up some work on my laptop, Walt topped up Braesail’s water tanks, and we prepared for tomorrow’s 5-hour ferry trip to Skagway, for which we have engaged another Lyft to meet us at 6 am. We plan to ride the old-fashioned narrow-gauge White Pass and Yukon Route railway train (the railroad was built between 1898 and 1900; the railway has been designated an international historic civil engineering landmark) from Skagway to Chilkoot Pass* and back on Thursday, stay in Skagway Thursday night, and return by ferry to Juneau on Friday. I hope that we’ll be able to see the spectacular mountain scenery about which everyone raves!

*Chilkoot Pass, at an elevation of about 3700 feet, cuts through the Boundary Ranges of the Coast Mountains in Alaska and British Columbia. It is the highest point along the Chilkoot Trail (long a route used by the Tlingit for trade, and which the railroad follows) that leads from Dyea, Alaska, to Bennett Lake, British Columbia. This was one of the main routes used by the “Stampeders” during the 1896 Klondike Gold Rush as they traveled to the goldfields, and many men and a huge number of pack animals died crossing the mountains. VERY few men “struck it rich” after all their sufferings.

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