June 11, 2015, Juneau- There is no such thing as a wasted day, unless one revels in wastefulness. Rain fell, constantly, during my first full day in the Alaskan capital. One must take what is, however, and so I first headed over to the nearest coffee house: Heritage Coffee, in the heart of downtown. I had about 1 1/2 hours of wi fi, for the price of coffee and a scone, before whoever runs the wifi pulled the plug, and I moved on.
Thus, I took in the fullness of downtown Juneau, and gradually moved uphill.
St. Nicholas Orthodox Church became a refuge for the Tlingit people, in the 1880’s and ’90’s, when American Christian groups insisted they give up their language and customs. The Russian Orthodox missionaries made no such demand. Therefore, the community remains strong in Juneau.
The Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary has thrived, since the Catholics learned from the success of their Orthodox neighbours. In truth, the only way to really reach people, especially in spiritual matters, is through their hearts.
The Alaska State Capitol is under renovation now, so no one is allowed inside, as a visitor. It is one of the most utilitarian, and unadorned of the state capitols, which suits me, and most Alaskans, just fine.
All this going back and forth was leading me to check my watch, and, yes, it was lunch time. So, off to Rainbow Foods, the local natural foods market, I went. Some of my fellow hostelers were stunned, STUNNED, that I didn’t go to Fred Meyer or IGA. As capable as the chain stores may be, local has more of the ambiance I seek.
After the lunchtime interlude, I checked out Wickersham House, the early Twentieth Century home of a local judge, and his multi-talented second wife, who built strong, respectful relationships with the Tlingit and Haida people. The house is an Alaskan State Historic Site, and much of the judge’s native arts collection is preserved here. Note the basketry, figurines and scrimshawed whale bone, below.
Next up, was a ninety-minute spiritual study with some local friends, then it was off to the heights above Juneau, with the hardiest of their number.
Our goal was Ebner Falls, which can be seen from a distance, below.
Above Ebner Falls, there rises Mount Juneau, accessible by a muddy path.
The rain was our companion, all during this hike, but the falls are a greater attraction than the precipitation was a deterrent. I went with my friend, Dave P., to his boat, to prepare it for tomorrow’s expedition. After pizza and salad, with Dave and his wife, my evening was occupied with helping a young friend to heal herself, with the help of some essential oils.