When articles list the Top 10 Outdoor Cities, Juneau is never listed. But it should be.
Juneau, in most people’s minds, exists somewhere between Seattle and Anchorage. People know it rains a lot. They know it gets dark in winter. And generally, because it belongs to Alaska, they think it’s really cold (actually, it averages around 20 degrees in winter, which is great when compared to Fairbanks’ -10 degrees or worse).
What the public doesn’t know yet? Juneau is stunning. I’ve been to Telluride, to Moab, to Boulder, to Flagstaff and to many other outdoor towns/cities. Each has it’s own unique appeal. But my favorite is Juneau. The shifting clouds, the fog that gently disperses the light of a rising sun, the snow-covered mountain tops glowing at night.
There is something extremely romantic about this place. But not in a fairytale kind of way – romantic like thunderstorms. Like whales. Like volcanos. The beauty is explosive, and the place feels powerful. Mountains tower above the road, and when I stand downtown, they seem to hover over me. Every attempt to photograph it fails. To a degree, the beauty can be captured – but really, it’s the sheer scale combined with the beauty combined with the threat of earthquake or avalanche or bear killing me despite my sincere admiration.
But Juneau needs no validation from lists or cover stories. Love her all you like – she’s beautiful for her own sake, she’s powerful for her own good.
And it makes you want her all the more.