There were countless tours or bus ride through the town that you could take in Juneau. You could also walk the main road through the countless tourist shops, peppered with funny tourist t-shirts (I indulged here a little bit), wood carvings, and countless chocolate and sugary joke snacks imitating various local wildlife droppings.
Instead, we decided to walk through the tourist strip, through the town on foot, past the scenic landmarks that the buses crowded around, often impatiently waiting for us to pass by them so they could take their photo from the other side of the road, and into the local park where we discovered similar scenes from any suburban town - two little girls playing on a swing set. A dad and his son working on their frisbee golf, a couple on a leisurely stroll. Except this time, it was set in the most lush, densely wooded greens, with a stream climbing up into a small mountain. And upon following that stream, we discovered the most turquoise water I've ever seen in real life, spindly trees covered in moss, and real life bear droppings, berries and all. Climbing aimlessly and excitedly through the trees with Nikko became one of my favorite things we did all week.
It was a good reminder that sometimes it's a good thing to skip the shiny pre-packaged version and to figure out what you like for yourself. Because I've found that that's usually where the best stuff is just waiting for you.
Photos by Nikko DeTranquilli