Ross Jeynes Memorial Eagle Glacier Letterbox
This box is in memory of my beloved friend Ross Jeynes, who died in 2001 at the age of 35, no apparent cause. I couldn't attend the funeral because I was having a baby, so I returned to the place I had taken him the last time I saw him -- Eagle Glacier Cabin in Juneau, Alaska. If you want to visit Alaska and hike in the backcountry, I suggest you research bear safety (I've provided some links to get you started on my AOL Journal page at http://journals.aol.com/spiralsage/TheJourneysofSpiralsage/.) Also, make sure you rent the cabin (http://www.reserveusa.org), because you'll be wanting a nice place to stay after you hike in on this amazing trail. I would also humbly suggest you read the account of my hike so you can learn about the exciting features of this trail like the Ankle-Twister Bog, Now This is Old Growth Forest, Shrek's Bridge, and the infamous Beaver's Revenge!
DISCLAIMER: Remember as you are hiking out to the cabin and searching for the letterbox to TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN SAFETY! An important precaution you must not forget while hiking in the wilderness is this: TELL SOMEONE WHERE YOU ARE GOING AND WHEN YOU EXPECT TO RETURN. Try not to fall, break a fingernail, get hypothermia, drown, forget to bring toilet paper to the cabin, get eaten by a bear, poked in the eye by a stick, lose your car keys in the lake or any of the other things that can happen to you in the Alaskan Wilderness. And don't blame me if something unpleasant happens to you because I've warned you now, haven't I?
You walk the quarter mile from the cabin, back to the sign which points out the beginning of the glacier trail. Shortly after leaving the trail sign, you will come into a slightly mucky portion of the trail.
Mucky Area with Three Trickles
You will pass through an area of the trail that is wetter than the other sections of the glacier trail, which makes for pleasantly squelchy walking. Nearest to the cabin, you will cross a fairly big but slow stream of mucky water. It's easy enough to step over this, but someone has put a crossing over this creek with cut logs lying perpendicular to the trail. Watch out though - they can be slippery! In a couple of minutes, there is another, smaller little trickle of flowing water, again with a cut log crossing perpendicular to the trail. Then, just before leaving the mucky area and heading into drier forest, there is one last little trickle of sluggish water with a bit of cut log to help you cross the muck.
Noisy Narrow Creek
After leaving the mucky area, you'll walk through drier woods before you hear loud running water and see the telltale sign of a creek from the brushiness up ahead. Call out to the bears! This is the noisiest creek on the trail to the glacier. I believe this is the creek you can hear from the cabin. The surrounding ground is fairly high above the creek, and the banks drop down a couple of feet to the creek, especially uphill. As you cross this creek you will notice a large gray-white boulder upstream, on the left side of the creek, and some wet logs fallen across the creek. Also notice, in the path of the trail on the glacier side of the creek, a standing dead tree without branches or a top, almost in the creekbed. It's a white-trunked tree - some kind of birch?
Noisy Gravel Creek
After a few more minutes of hiking in the lovely forest, you can hear another creek and notice the increase in leafy plants clustering near a creek. You cross a noisy creek with a gravel bed where the trail crosses. There are some big rocks in the stream, but it's not as noisy as the creek you've already crossed. The banks are not as high above the creekbed as the other noisy creek and the ground to either side of this creek has a gentler grade as it spreads out away from the creek.
X (as in "x marks the spot")
Another five minutes of woods walking and you will come to a noticeable little boulder field. You're essentially at the right spot now, you just have to find the box. You will know you are close to X when the trail opens out a bit onto this jumble of tumbled boulders. The jumble is old and moss-covered, and there are some truly big boulders here. On the other side of this little field of tumbled rocks is a long, straight, "smooth" path up a hump of rock, clearly visible straight ahead. There are boulders to either side of the trail, but the trail is very noticeably a straight, unobstructed climb (if it's wet out, don't slip coming down!). It is near the top of this straight section where you will find X. As you climb up here, you will pass between a huge boulder on your left and two big, mossy boulders on your right. Once you've passed them, you are very near X.
X is in the woods to the left of the trail. When you've almost reached the top of the straight, smooth rock trail, before the trail goes slightly to the right to its "summit," there is a gap between big boulders on the left of the trail where you can go into the woods. To get to X, you need to duck into the woods uphill, climb over two mossy rocks while ducking under low trees, and look for the cairn and tree-guarded opening of X.
A large rock juts out horizontally from the underside of the hiding rock, to the left of the opening. It ends in a roughly triangular point, is covered in moss, and has a little cairn on top. To the right of this pointing rock and its cairn you will see a large, moss and leaf covered rock, going into the hillside. A young tree which branches out in two trunks, almost right from the ground, is growing right in front of the space under the rock. It was my hope that a bear couldn't get its paw in here and pull out the box, since I had to turn the box on its side and wedge it in past this guardian tree trunk. There are small rocks piled up in front of the box to hide it.