Hello blog reading friends! It’s been awhile, so let’s catch up shall we? So…we’ve done things. Lots of things in fact. For instance, we went on an Alaskan cruise this summer with my fam. Alaska was amazing! The scenery was awe-inspiring! The cruise? Well, it was cruise-like. I know a lot of people love them a nice relaxing cruise. My family…doesn’t. We definitely enjoyed our time together and we spent time wandering around each of the ports of call, but the actual cruising part of the vacay was a little too slow for us. Though, it should be said that the highlight of the trip could only be seen by ship, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
We started and ended our Alaskan adventure in Seattle. Oh Seattle, how we love thee! We did get a little time to wander around Pike’s Market when we returned, which was a lovely treat. But I digress, on with the cruise! The first full day on the ship was spent at sea. Andy and I attempted to take a yoga class at the ship’s gym. But we quickly discovered that yoga is much more difficult when your floor is constantly tipping from side to side as it gets rocked by waves. Also, it wasn’t a very challenging yoga class and was clearly being taught by a body building personal trainer that had been tricked/bribed into teaching an additional yoga class just so the ship could say they offered it. No matter, the stretch the class provided was still nice seeing as cruise ship rooms aren’t known for being terribly spacious. We did some cruise ship like things, ate WAY too much for our own good, and puttered around as only cruisers can. (Btw, the waves en route to Alaska are much rougher than in the Caribbean. I highly recommend bringing some formulation of Dramamine if you’re planning an Alaskan cruise. I got the natural Dramamine with ginger and it worked surprisingly well.)
I’m on a boat. (photo courtesy of Mommy Chao)
The next morning, we docked at our first stop, Ketchikan!
Pretty scenery at every turn.
The fam enjoying a little time on land in Ketchikan.
I was really hoping to see a bear this trip. Not up close and personal, of course, but more off in the distance so it would be undisturbed when I would inevitably jump up and down yelling “It’s a bear! Hello bear!!” Perhaps it’s a good thing we saw no bears. Actually our tour guide said that the weather was a little too nice for a lot of the bigger wildlife. Silly animals, the weather was beautiful! But we did see a lot of bald eagles. If you look at this fellow, his feathers are all ruffled in the back in an attempt to cool off. Apparently, the weather was just too nice for his taste…
We also went to the totem pole park in Ketchikan, where the natural thing to do is to try and make the same faces that the totem poles are making. Right? Doesn’t everybody else do that?
Andy and me trying to be a grimacing…beaver? Cat animal? I’m not sure at this point. But I do think we got the grimace down right.
Begging like a fox-like creature.
Also, these totem poles are seriously tall! (or we’re seriously short, I’ll let you decide)
We make faces with or without totems, it’s just what we do.
Next stop: Juneau, Alaska’s capitol city. Interesting fact: according to our tour guide, there are currently no roads directly into Juneau. You can only get there by plane or boat. Odd for a state capitol, but maybe the Juneauites like it that way? Anywho, we did a very tame little hike to see the Mendenhall Glacier (yes, if I say a hike is tame, it’s truly very easy)
Posing with the Mendenhall glacier. The glacier itself has receded quite a bit. We know this partially because tourists have been coming here to take pictures with the glacier for ages! Back then, the ice was all the way down by the lake that’s directly behind us. You can see all the old timey photos at the visitor’s center, actually a fairly interesting stop.
Can’t get enough of posing in front of that glacier!
Oh and hey look, it’s a big waterfall! Waterfalls are spiffy.
And on to Skagway, the tiniest town on our trip. Trust me, it was so tiny that there was not even an iota of cell service on land for my fellow travelers to latch on to, making for somewhat grouchy companions to say the least. (and yes, wifi on the ship was too expensive to even consider) But we did take an interesting old train ride…
Pretty river scenery, but still no bears for me to get excited about.
And at the turn around point of the train ride, the Great Continental Divide! It looks a little ominous with all the fog and grey skies. Oh! And we did see a marmot, though he cleverly darted away before the hoards of tourists could get his picture. So, you’ll just have to take my word on the marmot sighting.
Us in our brightly colored puffy coat amazingness on the train crossing the Continental Divide. If either of us fell overboard, we made sure you could definitely spot us! (again, photo courtesy of Mommy Chao)
Okay friends, ready for the highlight of the trip? The majestic Sawyer glacier of the Tracy Arm Fjord. What a funny word, fjord. We said “fjord” a lot on this trip, it’s great fun to actually be able to use it in an appropriate context.
Look! It’s an iceberg in the shape of a mutated duck. Also, it was pretty cold at this point. Mittens, hats, puffy coats all came out of our suitcases as we sat on our balconies watching for the glacier. (we did upgrade to a balcony room for this cruise, and it was well worth it come glacier day) And yes, there were a lot of Titanic references made that day…
Saw a bunch of seals hanging out on the icebergs. Won’t lie, got pretty excited about that. It’s no bear, but we don’t have them at home so they’re still pretty interesting.
Momma seal and baby seal belly flopping around.
And the piece de resistance! The Sawyer Glacier. It’s hard to describe the enormity of it, but trust me when I say this thing was a most impressive block of ice! We even got to see some of the ice breaking off and falling into the ocean, glacier calving if you will. In any other situation, it’s probably a fairly worrying noise. But on our cruise ship a good distance away, it was just neat to see/hear.
And that, my friends, was our trip to Alaska in a nutshell. We had a great time and hope to go back someday to fully explore sans cruise. We have a few more pictures that I’ve posted here in the gallery if you’d like to take a look. Maybe next time I’ll see that elusive bear…