Wednesday, September 2 we departed Juneau via the Alaska Marine Highway System and journeyed to Gustavus (population 442), the gateway town to Glacier Bay National Park. Gustavus sits on the shores of Icy Passage, thirty-seven nautical miles west of Juneau. Our ferry ride would take just over four hours to reach it.
Our sailing was at 7am, but we woke at 4am because the Alaska Marine Highway System website stated we needed to check-in two hours before. The Juneau ferry dock was not on the Gastineau Channel in downtown Juneau, but rather near the northern end of the Juneau road system in Auke Bay.
We were bleary-eyed but excited as we loaded our bags into the taxi at 4:40. Our driver was a gruff, but friendly older fellow with a big beard. We chatted with him about our trip, Chicago, and that we had failed to visit “Juneau’s glacier,” the Mendenhall, while we were in town.
We arrived at the ferry terminal right around 7am, and we were the first one’s there. So we settled into some seats near a window that looked out at the water and waited for dawn.