On our final day we tied up in Juneau and readied to disembark by 8:30 a.m. As we departed the crew lined up along the pier to shake our hands or offer a hug and wish us well. A better crew would be difficult to find. They kept us happy, well fed, comfortable and entertained.
With just four hours until our plane departed for home, we were given a brief but entertaining tour from the docks to the city center. Juneau is an outport – it cannot be reached, or even approached, by road. Juneau was the site of a gold strike that attracted people enough to make a town, and the town’s importance increased when strikes of bonanza quantity were made in mountains to the north, along the Klondike River and other tributaries of the upper Yukon. Juneau, already a mining town, was also a way station on trips to the Klondike, and it became, for the duration of the gold boom, a center of Alaskan commerce.
Juneau is Alaska’s state capitol and has a population somewhere around 30,000. It changes from a sleepy small town to a bustling little city full of tourists whenever a large cruise ship arrives. We found that many stores in town are open only when large cruise ships are there.