One saving grace in this strange and stressful year has been the increased access to beautiful, restored and peaceful trails all over Juneau.
Near sunset at Auke Rec, recently I saw families enjoying dinner around firepits. I hiked the Salmon Creek Dam trail and saw bikers, families and young people breathing fresh air and learning some of Juneau’s history. I had not been on the Douglas Treadwell Ditch trail in years. A practically level trail with thoughtful benches near scenic waterfalls made for a lovely, long walk. I can’t wait for the entire trail to be renovated.
I took a friend who is not very mobile to the Jensen-Olson Arboretum recently. She loved the view, the plants and the serenity. My dog loved the nearby, gravel trail to the coastline. The accessible repaved Kaxdigoowu Héen Dei (Brotherhood Bridge Trail) provides accessibility. There seems to be something for everyone of all fitness levels and mobility to enjoy on our trails and in our parks.
While bashing government on the federal, state and local level is the latest bloodsport, I have renewed appreciation for the folks at the City and Borough of Juneau, Trailmix Inc., Alaska State Parks, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Park Service for not only securing funding and jobs for our community, but also involving volunteers and the private sector in improving and expanding our trail system.
With my family and friends in the Lower 48 locked in their homes due to fires, smoke, and the pandemic, I am more aware of the freedom we have to walk up mountains, stroll through the woods and enjoy beaches.
It can be so easy to be overwhelmed by current events. Putting one foot in front of the other, hopefully on a trail, may be an affordable key to our mental and physical health this year.