Tuesday, August 30, 2011

the rest of the story...

After Ketchikan, our next port was Juneau.  Another pretty coastal town, as well as the state capital for Alaska.  And more rain.  But that's okay, because it wasn't bitter cold, just wet.

We started out with the Glacier Gardens, and it was my favorite part of the whole trip. I didn't realize that the second largest rain forest in the world is right there in Alaska...the Tongass National Forest.  If you see nothing else, see Glacier Gardens.

The last one is a bit blurry, but I wanted to include it because it shows the upside down tree planters.  The trees came down in a storm, and in the clean up process, the owner did some damage to a rented crane.  Upset with himself, he (with the help of the crane) hoisted a tree, and slammed it down.  Buried as deep as is tall, with the roots on top, he decided to put a planter in it.  He liked it so much, there are a lot more around.

Next is the gift shop at the Garden.  Very pretty.  I picked up 3 bottles of blueberry honey to bring home for me and the kids.  Sad to say, I put it in my carry-on bags to bring home, and it was confiscated at the security gate.  Sigh.

From there we went to the Mendenhall Glacier National Park. It has a scenic overlook to the Glacier, as well as several trails in the area.  Tammy went down one of the trails and managed to see a bear.  I chose not to do the trails, so I missed out.
Not the best picture, but the glacier is off to the right, and you can see some of the ice that has broken off.  I got a 2012 calendar in the gift shop full of wonderful scenic shots, and the photographer, Mark Kelley, was there to autograph it.  Follow the link to the calendar, and you can see a true picture of the majestic beauty of the glacier (I think it's the May photo).

The next day was Skagway, and we rode the White Pass Yukon Route train 20 miles inland and back.  More beautiful scenery!   This was a terrific way to get a somewhat up close and personal look at Alaska.  The construction of 110 miles of track started in May, 1898, and was completed two years later.  I can only imagine the hardships they must have endured.
After the train ride, Tammy did the walking tour, and I did the tour from a street car.   Very informative, and lots of fun. Skagway's a small community in the winter with a population of about 850.  My guide said they haven't had a baby born there in years because the mothers-to-be leave so they can give birth in an area better equipped to handle it.  They have a new clinic, but the nearest hospital is 45 miles away.

The next day we stopped at Prince Rupert in Canada.  I really don't know why this was even on the itenerary.  We were the only ship in port, and the tour consisted of driving around the neighborhoods and going to a museum.  The museum was nice, but could easily have been accessed from the ship.  The highlight was seeing an eagle swoop over us to land in a tree across the street.

So there you have it in a nutshell, my trip to Alaska.  Circumstances probably won't bring another visit to this great state, but I'm certainly glad to have made it this time.  :)

1 comment:

Florida Farm Girl said...

Oh, I'm so glad you got to take your trip! I probably won't ever get to go back, either, but it is at the top of my list for repeat visits.