mounting Jumbo in Juneau

I’ve been thinking a lot about my 2009 trip to Alaska recently.  That trip involved a lot of firsts.  In addition to being my first time traveling solo, my first time sleeping in a hostel, my first time kayaking in a glacier lake, and my first time west of the state of Kansas; my trip to Alaska was the first time, and currently the only time, that I had the opportunity to summit a mountain.  On my final full day in Juneau, my sister and I climbed more than 3,000 feet to the peak of Mount Bradley Jumbo.

Elizabeth and I filled our water bottles, dropped Brady off at work, picked up some sandwiches for lunch, and headed over the bridge from Juneau to Douglas Island.  We parked the van, and easily found the trail head.  The trail brings you from the street, through someone’s back yard, right into the forest.  The first portion of the trail was excellently maintained, very well marked, and absolutely breathtaking.  We passed beautiful waterfalls, stunning tree-scapes, and thankfully, not a single bear.

Elizabeth saying hi

As we climbed through the tree lined trail, it was hard to tell just how high we were, as the forest prevented us from seeing civilization.  We could tell we were heading up, but didn’t think we had gained much altitude as the trail provided a pretty casual hike.  Soon, the trail got narrower, and steeper…  There were sections that required more of a rock climbing technique than a hiking one.

We mustered on through the beautiful Alaskan rainforest, until we finally came to a clearing.  We had reached the tree line.  We hiked through the green fields towards a much rockier section of the mountain.  We stopped to eat lunch and took a look back at what we had done so far.

a look back

The trail soon got hard to follow, we hadn’t seen an official marker in hours, and were relying on cairns left by previous travelers.  We made our way up the mountain, found some snow, and soon found the highest point we could.  I’m not sure if this was the official peak, but it was good enough for us.If you’re planning a trip to the Juneau area, I would highly recommend taking a trip to the top of Jumbo.  The views are awesome from the top, if the weather cooperates.  Our total hike took about 7 hours.  Be sure to give yourself enough time to get to the top and back down before dark – and always bring at least a day’s worth of water and food with you.

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