mendenhall glacier meets the sea, juneau alaska united states of america
Blake Kent/age fotostock
When gold was discovered in Juneau—enormous amounts of it, $66 million from a single mine when gold was at $14 an ounce—the new arrivals, with their heavy equipment, steam heat and constant digging, confused the local Auke Tribe. They didn’t understand why the miners would settle in Juneau. The city sees rain an average of 235 days a year, while beautiful Auke Bay, just a few kilometers to the north, is in a rain shadow and gets a fraction as much precipitation. Auke Bay also has the scenic bonus of the Mendenhall Glacier. Today the glacier is quickly retreating, but as ships sail by, all that ice looks like ground sapphire.