North America · 24 Days · 44 Moments · June 2017

Linda's journi to Alaska 2017

2 July 2017

Hello! Canada Day was lovely, even though we didn't get to Vancouver in time for the fireworks. We actually arrived in Vancouver on July 2nd. After locating a self- service laundromat and getting our laundry done, we made contact with my friend Eilis, who lives in Vancouver. Eilis picked us up and drove us around the city about and out to the University of British Columbia where she works. Had a lovely dinner with her and then returned to our hotel. Monday, Brian and I walked around the city a bit and then took the sky train to a place called Science World. It turned out to be mostly for children, but had some very interesting things for kids and adults to do, think about and learn from. After a leisurely breakfast at the Irish pub next to our hotel, we took a cab to the Amtrak station and boarded our train. We -- well I, anyway, expected our accommodations to be much more comfortable than those we had on the way out a month ago. And they are, but....... (to be continued...)

30 June 2017

For those rod you trying to follow this and being frustrated because days go by with no new entries, I have two challenges. First, we're often without cell service or internet for several days at a time. Second, I'm too busy having fun, hiking, eating riding on trains and buses and taking pictures to find much time to write. We are in Ketchikan today. We went on a short tour of the town and a native village where there is a collection of totem poles. Then we visited the local fire department and came back to the ship. That left me an hour and a half to try to catch up with the blog. As soon as we set sail -- about an hour from now -- I'll have to put my phone and IPad back into airplane mode to avoid mega charges. We're at sea tomorrow -- Saturday -- Canada Day and, just incidentally, my birthday!!😀😇-- and then in Vancouver, BC, on Sunday. I may have a chance to send an update from Vancouver, but not before then. So.... back to where I left off...... if I can remember......

29 June 2017

Juneau, Mendenhall Glacier and Nugget Falls. June 28. We were able to get closer to the bottoms of this waterfall than I've ever gotten to a waterfall this large.

28 June 2017

This is Haines, Skagway and the Yukon and White Pass Railroad. I took most of my pictures with my "real" camera rather than my phone, so can't share until we get home. We took the ferry from Haines to Skagway, rode the train to Fraser, BC, Canada , then took a bus back to Skagway. The scenery on the train was breathtaking, but it was a little hard to get pictures. What I have is on the other camera. Then on to Juneau.....

27 June 2017

Continuation of Kenai Fjords story. With one engine disabled, it would be difficult to steer through the ice field near the glacier, so they hooked us to another boat and towed us. Then we continued on our way back to Seward, albeit at a lowered speed. Which meant we had a shortened time in which to have our salmon bake at Fox Island. We did get back to Seward safe and sound and boarded our cruise ship with only a couple of minutes to spare. Shortly after setting sail, we learned that the ship has its own cell service and that if we used it, we'd be charged rather higher rates than we usually pay, so we put all our electronics into airplane mode to avoid having that happen. Thus the silence until we get back on land. Tomorrow.
Tired of pictures of glaciers yet? I'm not tired of taking them, yet. But I think there's only one more Glacier to show pictures of.
More Glacier Bay National Park. Incredible place. We saw several glaciers. A couple of them obligingly calves for us. Not sure if it shows in any of the pictures. I also got shots of a seal and a sea otter.

25 June 2017

Leaving Seward and then Glacier Bay. The app will let me post only 10 pics at a time, and I took three million, so have to break them into groups.
Keanu Fjords National Park. There are no words!
Views of and from our hotel in Seward. Liked this one a lot!

24 June 2017

The Sealife Museum on Seward. I've never seen a puffin before!
More of the road from Anchorage to Seward, complete with bugs on the windshield!
On the road from Anchorage to Seward. Turnagain Arm and Portage Glacier.

22 June 2017

Friday morning -- June 23, I think! -- we boarded the train in Denali and headed for Anchorage. The ride was great. We had a knowledgeable and entertaining tour guide and more beautiful scenery. We saw a mama and baby moose swimming across a river. In Anchorage, we found a wonderful quilt shop, and I nearly missed the bus! Ha, only joking, but I wished I had a couple of hours to spend there instead of about 40 minutes. We found Anchorage to be a very noisy city and found it odd the lay there wasn't a drug store downtown. Saturday we boarded our bus for Seward a little after noon.
In addition to seeing Denali, we saw several grisley bears, Dahl Sheep, Bald eagles, ground squirrels, a ptarmigan, and several caribou. Definitely one of the best days of the trip. We stayed at the McKinley Chalet, a property owned, at least in part, by Holland America. It was very nice. Rustic charm, live music in the evening, ranger talks, shuttle buses to help us get around the property and beautiful Views everywhere we looked.

21 June 2017

Are you tired of pictures of mountains yet? Well, there are many more to come!! It's been a busy few days, so I haven't taken the time to share our adventures. They have been many and wonderful! The day we arrived in Denali National was sunny and beautiful, so I had high hopes of seeing the mountain. Then I found out that there is now viewpoint from where our hotel was or from the visitors' center or from anywhere we could get to that day. I was sorely disappointed, but information at the visitors' center indicated that even if we had been where we had a view of the mountain, it would have been obscured by clouds. That was Wednesday, June 21. Thursday dawned clear and sunny, and we left our hotel at 5:30 am for our 8-hour tundra tour. The day couldn't have been more perfect! We had a spectacular view of the mountain and of the rest of the park. If you visit Denali, the tundra tour is a must. More pictures from the tour in the next entry.

20 June 2017

After two days of adventures in Fairbanks, we're off to Denali National Park today(Wednesday, June 21). Solstice is a beg celebration in Fairbanks, so we went to a street fair and heard about lots of celebrations. Didn't stay up also night to see they it never got really dark, but the sun hadn't really set at 11:30! Looking forward to Denali. It's sunny here, so keeping fingers crossed. Not sure how internet or cell service will be there. We'll be I. Anchorage on Friday.

18 June 2017

17 June 2017

June 17-18, 2017 The train ride from Anchorage to Fairbanks yielded beautiful scenery, four or five moose sightings, trumpeter swan sightings and bad jokes by the train crew. (The difference between an engineer and a conductor is that an engineer can't be electrocuted. He's not a conductor.) Even before the train went through the heart of Denali National Park, the scenery was spectacular. The Park did not disappoint. The trip took a little more than 12 hours, but they went by quickly. We had lots of room so we could move among the seats to get the best pictures. We could also move upstairs into the domed observation section when we wanted. We saw at least five moose, including two babies and one adult that was swimming. Today we took it easy, not doing much more than laundry and browsing in the hotel gift shop. After Brian arrived mid-afternoon, he and I walked a few blocks to the Fairbanks Solstice street festival where there were food tents, crafters, performers and music.

16 June 2017

June 16, 2017, on the train, between Whittier, AK, and Anchorage, running along beside Turnagain Arm at low tide.
The Copper Whale Inn in Anchorage and some of the scenery along the train route between Anchorage and Fairbanks. We stayed at the Copper Whale the night of June 16. It's an adorable little place in the heart of downtown Anchorage. The bed gave a renewed meaning to the term "climbing into bed." We practically needed a ladder--- or at least a step stool! The Inn was lovely, but being right on the street, it was pretty noisy. The owners thoughtfully left earplugs for us. It also suffered from a lack of either ventilation or air conditioning, but its charm and the lovely (included) breakfast the next morning went a long way toward offsetting its deficits.
Some of the views from our hotel.
There are waterfalls cascading down most of the mountains here. From a distance, they look like scars on the mountains or little trails of snow. But zoom in with yr camera lens or binoculars and you can see that they're waterfalls" some of the, running from nearly the top of the mountains. If you could get close to the , you'd see that they're not so small, either. That's a lot of water running down those mountainsides. We just had a test of the tsunami warning system. In 1964, there was a devastating earthquake followed by an even more devastating tsunami. Now the town has a tsunami evacuation plan, and every Friday they test the warning system. I'm impressed. I hope the USPS or the hotel hasn't lost our suitcase. The girl at the desk at the hotel today didn't see it around anywhere........
Since I really can't tell my story in the allotted space, I'll just say that on a whim we decided to rent a car. We drove to Anchorage, which was a spectacularly beautiful drive, including driving thought the one-way tunnel that serves both cars and trains (!). We met a high school classmate of Walt's (and his wife) and had a lovely dinner of Copper Creek Sockeye Salmon -- it's in season right now, yum! --and Baked Alaska, then drove back to. Whittier. We saw a moose on the way out and another on the way back. Today, we plan to explore the town a little by car until we have to return it, then continue on foot and/or read on the hotel porch until ur train leaves for Anchorage at 6:45. The days are indeed VERY long! It was light well after midnight. So, on the train, we'll see the same gorgeous scenery we saw yesterday.
Friday, June 16, Whittier. AK. Yesterday turned out to be one of those serendipitous, spontaneous days that represent the way I wish vacations could always go, but that I rarely imagine they will. We got off the ferry about 7 a.m., not having a clue how we were going to spend the next 36 hours, other than sleeping at the hotel where we had reservations. We hung around the ferry terminal for a while waiting for things to open, then made our way about half a block down the street to a little coffee shop. Everyone had said that everything in Whittier is within walking distance, but we have too much luggage for our capabilities, so getting to the hotel we could see about half a mile away seemed like a huge challenge. Ten the very nice proprietor of the coffee shop offered to drive us. Since it was cold and very windy, the offer was most welcome. After getting settled in the hotel and dealing with some logistics, we went out in search of lunch. End of word limit so moving to a new entry.
The dining room in our hotel in Whittier.

13 June 2017

(Cont'd.) Something's definitely wrong with this software or my use of it. It can't be intended that I can only write short blurbs. If I can't figure it out, I may have to,switch to Wordpress. Anyway, Fran and I met and had a great chat, I got my walk, found a delightful grocery store where I bought the laundry soap plus lunch, I got a ride back to the ferry, and Fran and I saw an eagle closer than I have ever seen one. So it turned out to be a good adventure. Later in the day, our ferry detoured into Pelican Bay, which was breathtaking, and now, we're cruising past two glaciers. Pictures ton follow. Wednesday is Yakutat.
Glacier seen 6/13/17.
This morning, we were nominally in Juneau, although we actually docked 13 miles north of Juneau. Since we are going to be in Juneau on the cruise in a couple of weeks, and since it was going to cost $70 for a cab ride into town and back, we opted to stay around the ferry dock. I was hoping to find some laundry detergent and wanted to see if there was anything near the dock worth seeing, so I got off the ship. Walt opted to,stay behind. I learned that there was a laundromat in the little town about a mile from the dock and thought that walking there and back seemed like a reasonable way to stretch my legs and get some exercise. So, off I went. I was about halfway there when I got a text message from my sister Kathy saying that her friend Fran, who lives in Juneau, was thinking about driving out to the ferry to meet me and Walt, and what did I think? After several emails back and forth, I talked to Fran on the phone,and we decided on a meeting place in Auke Bay, where I was headed.
Most of these were taken in Pelican Bay, which, if I understood the announcement correctly, was an extra side trip that's not on the ferry's normal route. Sure glad we did it. It's gorgeous!

12 June 2017

(Cont'd.). We're Humpbacks. We've also seen quite a few bald eagles, which is always a treat. There are also lots of waterfalls, but you have to look closely to see them. The zoom on my camera is long enough that I can zoom in and see the water flowing. Those pictures will have to wait until we get home and I can download them. Next time I treat myself to a camera -- maybe soon! -- it will have wi-if, so I can upload pictures the way I can from my I-phone. Juneau early tomorrow morning.The town is apparently several miles from the ferry dock,so we may not get there until the return trip -- on the cruise ship.
The mountains here are amazing. They are beautiful; but what's blowing my mind is that they're all around us and have been for hundreds of miles. I've seen mountains before, but these just keep going and going. Being on the ferry is like going along a river in the middle of the Rockies. There are mountains and hills on both sides of the ship, in front of us and behind us. They're not all as tall as the Rockies. Maybe none of them are that tall, although some of them still have snow on the top in June. But, you know how mountains and hills sometimes appear to be in rows, some near, others farther away and still others even farther away? Well, that's what this is like, rows and rows of hills and mountains as far as you can see in all directions. Except where there's water. I saw my first whales today! I didn't see much of them. They seemed to be playing around, flapping their tails and sticking their heads up now and then, I don't even know how many there were, but the crew said they...
Spent the morning in Ketchikan. Bought lunch at the A&P,stopped at the post office, watched some eagles soar around and then watched a bunch of seaplanes land. Now on the way to Juneau.

11 June 2017

Awesome day. The beauty just doesn't stop. We reach Ketchikan about 8:30 tomorrow morning. I may get off the boat and take a walk, as we'll be there for 3 1/2 hours. I should be able to get back on the internet tomorrow so I can post my entries. I hasn't realized that Alaska is 4 hours behind the East Coast. So here we are at 9:30 pm -- it's starting to get dark and we're starting to yawn. Maybe that's because it's 1:30 am at home! We expect to disembark at Whittier, AK, on Thursday morning.
Bellingham to Ketchikan. I can't stop taking pictures!! It's a little chilly and VERY windy, but just gorgeous. Having a wonderful time. Electronics are all in airplane mode until tomorrow morning to avoid international phone charges, so this won't get published until Monday. Pat, Herb and Brian: bring warm clothes! Hat, gloves, warm jacket!
TheAlaska ferry has turned out tone a great choice! The scenery is gorgeous, the atmosphere relaxed and the people friendly. We were able to upgrade our roo. To a slightly larger one with a window -- well, porthole -- which has made a big difference to our comfort! It's a lot easier to manipulate our suitcases with a little room to move around, and I am much more comfortable with some natural light coming out n to give me cues about day and night. The room isn't a place we'd want to spend time relaxing, but it's fine for sleeping. There are plenty of other places on the ship to sit and relax. There are at least four lounges. Much to my surprise, none of them is crowded! The travel agent who booked the room for us said there would be 500 people on the ferry. Judging from how uncrowned things are, I would have guessed more like 100 or 150. Either I'm doing something wrong. Or this software will let me write only a couple of paragraphs before I run out of space. So, See next entry......

10 June 2017

For those of you on Facebook, I've been posting pictures whenever I can, so you'll find pictures but not many words there. Eilis, We're still planning to have dinner with you on July 2nd!
I'm not sure I've figured out how to use this or how to save and publish my entries. I was in the middle of typing before breakfast, when I apparently ran out of space, because I just couldn't type anymore. I'll just finish for now by saying we get on the ferry at 4:00 this afternoon after our first experience using uber. I don't know if there will be internet on the ferry -- doubtful -- and, since I don't want to take a chance on getting international charges while we might be in range on Canadian towers, I plan to put all of my devices into airplane mode from the time the ferry leaves the dock at 6:00 pm until I'm sure we"re closer to Alaska than to Canada. I don't know whether that will be tomorrow or Monday, but you won't hear/see much of us until I decide it's safe to turn the electronics on again.
Today is Saturday, June 10, the 5th day of our Alaska adventure. Having spent three nights in Tiny Amtrak roomettes, we are very happy to have a reasonably nice motel room with a queen-size bed in Bellingham, Washington. Bellingham seems like a great town, and the weather has been perfect here. We won't get to explore much of it, because on foot with lots of baggage. Other than the sleeping arrangements, the train experience was excellent. The highlight was traveling through Glacier National Park all the way from East Glacier to /west Glacier, sitting in the domed observation car seeing all the mountains towering around us. As we approached the park, there were some pretty impressive storms all around us, which provided drama of their own. The lingering clouds and fog around the peaks as we traversed the park were beautiful, but made it difficult to get good pictures. Later today, I'll try to get a few pictures entered into the blog. For those of you who are on Facebook, I've b

9 June 2017