My family came to visit us in Juneau, but it turned out to be a pretty strange trip. My mom and my brother flew out from Minnesota, meeting my aunt Linda from Philadelphia when they got to Seattle, and continuing on to Alaska from there. Several hours before they were supposed to leave, they got a phone call that my 96 year old grandmother had been brought to the hospital with complications from a fall earlier in the week. They were told she was in stable condition, and decided to continue with the trip. By the time they arrived in Juneau they got another call saying grandmother had taken a turn for the worse and wasn't expected to make it through the night. My mom and aunt immediately booked tickets to return to MN, while my brother decided to stay in Alaska and wait to see how things progressed. So, my mom and aunt got to stay just long enough to have an early dinner before getting back on a plane. We found a nearby restaurant that served seafood so we could get fresh fish and chips, so at least we could find a little humor in the situation by saying that my mom and aunt flew all the way to Juneau Alaska, just for the halibut. My mom and aunt arrived back in MN in time to visit briefly with their mother before her condition worsened and she passed away during the night on Friday. The photo above is of my grandmother at our wedding in Moab, just about to get in my truck for a trail ride down the mountain from our ceremony site. Most of the other participants took the paved road back into town, but even in her 90's my grandmother wasn't going to pass up the opportunity to drive back down the steep, narrow shelf road we use when we are doing the serious off road trails. She was a real inspiration to anyone that thought they might be too old for anything, and her passing leaves another serious empty spot in my life.
Nicole and I tried to make the best of things and show my brother around the basic touristy sights of Juneau. We went to the hatchery to see the chum salmon very near their peak run with thousands of fish in the ladder. We also went to the state museum (a good local native american exhibit), the mining museum (probably not worth the long walk from town, although it may have been more fun if we would have tried panning for gold while we were there), the Mendenhall glacier (cool to be that close to a glacier, plus we got to see spawning sockeye salmon, a mountain goat, and almost got run over by a black bear on the walk back to the bus stop), did some touristy shopping around town, and rounded things out with a trip out on the boat to see some whales. My brother decided to cut the trip short so he could be back in MN in time for the funeral, so we will just have to save the rest of the items on their to-do list until they can arrange to return to Alaska another time. Nicole and I will take advantage of being in a relatively big town to restock on some of our food stores, and then head out for more exploring around southeast Alaska.