Monday, May 12, 2008

A week in Alaska

Here are just four of the 300 images I took while on my trip. I just spent an incredibly busy week on a cruise to Alaska. My parents, little brother and his wife, my aunt and uncle and my grandmother (who was my roomie by the way) all joined in on the fun. The trip was really fun and surprisingly drama free. We left from Seattle and headed up north to Ketchikan, then Juneau, Skagway and finally Victoria B.C..
Ketchikan was a fun little town where Wyatt Earp himself once resided. It was cool to see buildings and walkways still standing which added to the character and charm of this town. We spent the day walking around checking out the shopping. My brother, his wife and I received what we call the sucker stamp while visiting Ketchikan. We decided to take a small tram up a small mountain which we each paid $2 to ride to the top. These two girls took our money and then stamped our hands with one of those stamps they use when playing bingo. We happily paid the fee and climbed on board. It wasn't until we were heading back to the tram that we realized we had been duped. The girls were no where in site and inside the tram there was a button with a sign that said, "Press here to go down". Of course, they could have been on a break, but it was odd that no one was there to relieve them. We found it pretty fun and loved the fact that we got to walk all over Ketchikan with our sucker stamps.
Next up.....Juneau. This was probably my favorite place of all the ones we visited. The Yukon was great, but I loved having the opportunity to take a tour of the Mendenhall Glacier. I went by myself and went for a long hike trying to get as close to the glacier as possible. There was a mountain goat up on a hill that I saw, and apparently a bear cub nearby that I successfully avoided. Our tour guide was from Utah (go figure) who told fun stories about Juneau on our way up to the glacier. Here is one of the stories he told: There was a collision with a 737 and a salmon a few years back. An Eagle had just caught it's breakfast and was flying away with the salmon, at the same time the plane was taking off. The Eagle decided to let go of the fish, (they are assuming, in an attempt to avoid being hit by the plane) which then collided with the plane. After hearing a loud crash the pilot landed the plane and insisted on having it checked before taking off again.
Later that week we were on our way to Skagway, where we hopped on a train and headed for the Yukon territory. It was really beautiful and interesting to learn about it's history. Being surrounded by endless mountains covered in snow, I was in awe of the many men and women who traveled on those trails all for the chance to make some money in the mines. Each of the miners had to have a years worth of food before they were even allowed to enter the Yukon territory. It took us almost two hours by train to get to the top, I can't imagine how difficult it would have been for them to climb the mountain with the primitive equipment they had back then. We stopped for lunch at a corral like place that was part of our excursion. My grandmother decided that she was going to save one of her barbecued pieces of chicken and proceeded to wrap it in a napkin and put it in her butt pack. Do I need to remind you that we were on a cruise? Tons of free food? Yeah, she was in pack rat mode. Needless to say we laughed a lot when we went through customs joking about how the dogs were going to attack her trying to get to her chicken. We thought for sure grandma was going to get caught with her "stash". Luckily for her, they just waved us through.
Our last night on the ship was very rocky. We got caught in a storm where the waves got to be 20ft high and the wind was blowing at 50 knots(whatever that means). My brother and sister-in-law were both feeling really sick, and my grandmother was a little scared of the loud banging noises that were coming from the bottom of the boat. The crew cancelled most of the shows that night and cautioned us to be careful when walking outside. My brother, uncle and I decided to go up as high as we could on the boat.....I was almost knocked over a couple of times, and was laughing so hard I couldn't catch my breath. Really dumb, but oh so much fun!
Our final stop before heading back to Seattle was Victoria B.C.. The only day we had bad weather was here. Thankfully, we had all been there before, so we went up to the Skywalker lounge at the top of the ship and hung out for a few hours before heading to bed.
All in all, the trip was fun. It was nice spending time with my family and re-bonding with my 83 year old grandmother, who, unfortunately is slowing down. It was fun exploring the great white north with my family.


hyker said...

Cool. Sounds like you had a lovely time. Alaska rocks. I Like spending time there. In fact, I think I need to go camping there one of these days....if only I didn't have a job to worry about. Nice pics. I need to look at the rest of them.

Tysha & Jacob said...

Beautiful pictures! Looks like a fantastic trip!