We hiked the mountain above Juneau – Mount Roberts – for our first scout camp out since the pandemic began. All the scouts had to pack their own tents and cookware and food. Only stoves would be shared. Sam had a full pack, but he made it. The hike is uphill to nearly the top of the mountain. Keith planned the camp out so we could watch the big fireworks show put on by the city, but the fireworks were cancelled. However, the camp out was already planned, and we knew there would be plenty of people lighting off their own fireworks.
We from the trail head about 4 pm and hiked uphill for about two and a half hours. I’d been up to the tram on the trail once, but never past it to the camping spot a half mile further. Our site looked up to the top of Mount Roberts another half mile away, and over looked the bowl under the face of the mountain. The bowl was like our own little zoo. We saw a sow with cubs, some black tailed deer, mountain goats, a ptarmigan and brood, and marmots were whistling all day. We could see everything with the naked eye.
Sam had his tent set up by himself first, then crawled inside, at the dinner his dad cooked and sent with him, and was down for the count and in recovery. He was up a couple hours later, running around with the other scouts. I inflated my sleeping pad, laid it out on the grass, and laid down for a couple hours and then went up to the edge of the bowl to look at the wildlife and talk with some of the parents. I slept in the open with a light blanket and tarp as there was no rain in the forecast. We looked down on the fireworks and it was very pedestrian, although lots of noise. The fireworks continued til long after midnight, but did not keep me up.
We rose about 8 am, and the scouts quickly had their tents down and packs packed and ate breakfast. It took about an hour and a half to climb back down the mountain. As Sam and I drove through town on what is usually the busiest day of the summer, with about 7 cruiseships in town and the big parade with locals packing the streets, the place was a ghost town. No one was on the streets. Like a science fiction movie. I wondered if this would be the same scene next year, or the pandemic would pass. I know by this time next year, we’ll have had a presidential election, and it may be a new normal all the way around.