The Tramway rises 1,800 ft from sea level. The only aerial tramway in south-east Alaska, it skims the tree tops and carries us upward. I am tempted to say it is not for the faint-hearted but that wouldn't be true. Although it is one of the most vertical cable-cars in the world we feel as secure as if we were still on the ground. Even David, famous for his inability to cope with heights, chats happily as he takes in the scenery.
At the top we are rewarded with a panoramic vista. If you come on a cruise ship, bring your binoculars. You may be able to make out your fellow passengers far below.
|Stunning view from the top.|
After a brief stop to soak in the view we investigate the trails radiating out from the upper station. Near the top station the spruce trees which dominate the landscape soon give way to treeless alpine meadows. The Tramway station is at 1750 feet (544 metres). Although one trail goes all the way to Gastineau Peak at 3666 feet (1117 metres) we only make it as far as Father Brown's Cross at 2030 feet (618 metres) . Father Brown was a local Jesuit priest and keen hiker who, with volunteer help, built the first trail up Mt Roberts. The original cross was erected in 1908 and is now a favourite landmark with amateur photographers. I soon have a small collection of cross photos to add to my digital snapshots.
|Spruce Trees near the top station.|
The highlight of our visit is watching Doug, a master Tlingit (pronounced as if the first 't' was a 'k') craftsman, shape a totem pole from a ten foot cedar log. Visitors are invited to try their hand and I wonder what happens if the chisel slips while in the hands of an amateur. Later we are told visitors are, wisely, kept away from the fine detail.
|A visitor being shown how to carve by Doug's son Michael .|
Beyond the carving demonstration lies the Raven Eagle Gift Store and Gallery with it's collection of exquisite souvenirs. I fall in love with everything and David is lucky to escape with his wallet intact.
|Locally carved totems in the Raven Eagle Gift Store and Gallery - I want to own them all.|
We finish our visit with lunch at the restaurant. We are told the crab nachos is a local dish. It seems unlikely somehow, but sitting on the outside deck in the sunshine admiring the mountain scenery it really doesn't matter.
Where is the Tramway? - The Tramway is situated at the cruise ship dock. If you arrive in Juneau on a cruise you can't miss it. If not head to just south of downtown along Egan Drive and South Franklin St.
Is the Tramway accessible to the disabled? - Yes the Tramway prides itself on it's disability access.
What facilities are there for children? - Children will love the tram ride itself. Once at the top head to the Nature Center for interpretive displays and information pitched at the younger members of the family. They can climb into a life-size reproduction eagle's nest, play 'Whose Scat is that?', or try their hand at solving the puzzles of the mystery boxes.
How much does it cost? - Adult tickets are $33. Children from 6-12 cost $16 and children 5 and under are free. Click here for ticket purchase information
Is there a restaurant at the top? - Yes. On a fine day grab a table outside in the sunshine. We did.
|Children can play 'Whose scat is that?'|
|David was a whizz at the Mystery Boxes.|
For the next post in this series click - here
For all my posts on the Alaska Marine Highway and our Alaska/Canada road trip click- here
11 July 2015