I recently got back from 10 days in Alaska and Vancouver. My husband and I have always wanted to go to Alaska, and I finally decided to book it, tired of continually saying “maybe next year.”
It was so worth every minute and every penny! We stopped in Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan. My favorite port was probably Skagway, and the husband liked Ketchikan the best. Juneau was both of our least favorite port, though still great. I learned a lot of interesting things, did some great relaxing, saw new things, met new people, and came home rested and recharged.
I took notes on my vacation, mostly so I could remember the cool stuff I learned and what I did each day. I could give you a blow by blow account of that, but I’m sure no one actually wants to read that. Do you remember when, in school, you had to write an essay about “My Summer Vacation”? This won’t be that. I’ll just hit the highlights. 🙂
Our cruise was 7 days to Alaska by way of Vancouver. Although Canada is very nice, going in and out of customs 4 times was a bit of a hassle. Both US and Canadian customs were efficient and pleasant, but I prefer to avoid lines when I can. Bottom line, if you’re traveling from the US, just leave from Seattle. It would be so much easier.
Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan were all fishing towns at one time, though Juneau gets most of its revenue from being the political center these days. We saw whales, bears, bald eagles, huge mutant mosquitoes, and glaciers. I went specifically to see the wildlife and glaciers, and I left satisfied.
In Juneau, we went whale watching, and got to see humpback whales and sea lions while we boated around a bay surrounded by snow-capped mountains.
I also hiked to the Mendenhall Glacier. There’s nothing else quite like standing close to a glacier.
In Skagway, we took the train down and around the mountain. It was exhilarating, as in some of the places, it was barely big enough for the tracks. On one side, I could have reached out and touched rock, but on the other side, it was almost straight down. That was a pretty packed day, as it’s also the day we went to Liarsville, saw Okie Bob’s show, and had the best salmon of our entire trip.
In between Skagway and Ketchikan, we cruised up to Tracy Arm. We had fortuitous weather, as we were able to get right up to the glacier. I’ve never seen anything like it. We were lucky enough to see the glacier calve, and I’ve never heard anything like the sound the ice makes as it’s breaking up. It’s like a thousand thunderstorms.
In Ketchikan, we went bear watching and had a great hike through the temperate rainforest. Bears are pretty great! I didn’t know that Alaska has a lot of rainforest, a lot of volcanoes, and a number of earthquakes. Now that I’m a bit older, I enjoy learning things on vacation.
A cruise is a great mix of relaxing and activity (if you book excursions). The first time I took a cruise, I thought it was a bit too slow for my vacationing preference, but this time around, I really paid more attention to it, and I just loved it. I think that’s going to be my ideal way of vacationing now.
I’ll be uploading a video of a glacier calving to my Facebook page, if you’re interested.