Friday, August 08, 2014

Port Call

Tonight's the night!  I'm not going to bed until I've blogged about our cruise along the Inside Passage of Alaska.  I'll probably let the pictures do most of the talking: otherwise it could turn into a very long night.

First Stop: Ketchikan

Early in the morning, Jason and I went for a short run through some lovely woods near the University of Alaska Southeast and tried hard not to think about the coastal brown bears (grizzlies.)  Two days later I stumbled across a local newspaper article about a marathon runner who was mauled by a mama bear protecting her cubs.  Yikes!  Running is such a lovely way to explore a new community, but I could do without the element of danger.

Later that morning, most of our crew took a bus to Totem Bight Historic Park.

Brooklyn and Talia were so fascinated by the totems that they wanted to imitate their expressions.

This pic is going in your wedding album, Talia.

Eli thought the totems looked better upside down.  The rest of us thought Alesia was Superwoman for toting Eli.

Jason made himself right at home with his sketchbook...

...while Annika caught up on sleep.

Gregory looking ultra cool in his shades while Uncle Jay shows off eyes as blue as his jacket.
And Greg with his oh-so-familiar smile.  We love it!

Talia entering the clan house.

Very inspiring and slightly intimidating.

A broader perspective.

Here are the gals: Katelyn, Kathryn, and Jeanette.  Come visit us sometime so we can go rappelling again!  (Or at least go to the zoo.)

Looks like these three are up to something.

Let's add a few more!  From top to bottom: Jeanette, Gregory, Katelyn, Alesia, Eli, Brooklyn, Callie, and Talia.

Jason, Kathryn, and Annika jump in for the final totem pose.  (Annie Mae didn't much like it.)

We took a detour along the rocky shore on the way out.
There is remarkable beauty everywhere if you look closely.
Verdant and vibrant.
I feel quite fortunate to have beautiful little things circling me every day.  Tiny as she may be, this little thing has still grown.  After eighteen months, the sling is officially retired!
Ketchikan is known as the Salmon Capitol of the world.  It would be pretty amazing to see all of the salmon swimming upstream here!

The town is also known for its historic boardwalk, Creek Street.  My favorite part was the Married Man's trail. 
Here are Annika and I with my cousin Greg, who despite looking remarkably like Jason, is not a married man.
Apparently this trail was an escape route for men needing a quick exit from the brothels when police came through with hefty fines.  Back in the day, Ketchikan had quite a seedy reputation!
I'm blushing.
Port of Call #2: Icy Strait Point

Icy Strait is so tiny that there actually isn't a port at all.  The cruise ship simply moors and shuttles all of the passengers to land via tender.

The tender doesn't seem small until compared with the cruise ship!

An Icy Strait Portrait

One of the main attractions in Icy Strait is a mile-long zipline.  We personally decided that Papa K's zipline is much more thrilling since you're not belted in.  Even so, it was fun to watch.
Do you like the snazzy binoculars I stole from the kids?
We took a lovely walk through the mossy forest.  Jason said this bench made him feel like a Hobbit.
A Hobbit Family Photo
So when the nearest major town is two miles away in Hoonah (population 960), you have to make your own entertainment.  Good thing we're up to the task!
This may look like a plain old rope, but Talia knows better.

Hop on one side and the folks on the other go flying up!
Ring around the rosie and we all fall down!

Help!  We've fallen and we can't get up.
May I quote Utah Valley Marathon's mantra: Pain You Enjoy.
Brooklyn chose to go back early so she could listen to her audiobook.
Talia, on the other hand, lingered longer to look for shells.  While most of the collection had to stay in Icy Strait, one shell came along to remind us of our day of fun.
The highlight of Juneau (and quite possibly all our ports) was our whale watch.  Thanks to the good navigation of Captain Jack, we saw humpbacks, Dall's porpoises, and other sea creatures.
Uncle Jay keeps an eye out for whales.
That whale back is definitely humped!

All of these amazing photos are courtesy of Adam Wilhoit, who happens to be a remarkable nature photographer.

The quintessential fluke.

As you can see, it was a pretty overcast day (as were most of our Alaskan cruise days.)  Even so, look straight back and you'll see the Mendenhall glacier peaking through the mountain valley.

Steller sea lions crowded together on a buoy.  Apparently the biggest ones won't fit.

The most remarkable moment of the whale watch was when hundreds of herring started leaping out of the water.  Was there a predator just below the surface?  Who knows.  Regardless, I was glad to be privy to such an unusual occurrence.

Alaska's scenic beauty.
In the afternoon, we convinced Callie and Adam to accompany us on a "non-hike." Despite my assurances that we were unlikely to take off through the mountains, we somehow found ourselves working our way along Perseverance Trail on Mount Roberts.  What can I say?  We're altitude junkies.

Callie found this sign requesting that everyone "please refrain from dog walking and using this area as a toilet" to be quite amusing.

Despite the rain, our hike was lovely with waterfalls dotting the landscape.  The perfect place for trail running, I felt twinges of jealousy each time a runner trotted past.  While I'm not certain I could handle winter, Juneau would be a wonderful place to spend the summer.
In Skagway (the last land excursion before reaching our final destination), I was reminded of how much the cruise ships dominate these small Alaskan towns--at least in the summer time.
Jay, Janet, and Alesia wave to us from their stateroom high above.

Just walking from one end of the ship to the other gives you quite a good workout.
Believe it or not, the Celebrity Millennium was not the largest ship in port that day.
Eli seems a bit daunted by the long journey to the end of the dock.
Talia decides to give Annika a ride.

Nowadays Uncle Jay does better with a ride for longer excursions too.

Alesia was Eli's best pal for the entire week.
Annie Mae suddenly decides to be nobody's pal.  People occasionally ask me if Annika always smiles.  If only!
Fortunately she's happy most of the time.
Plus, she's pretty cute.
Aunt Callie looks happy!  Who's she looking at?

An adorable, train-riding Brooklyn.

So Brooklyn, that's a pretty nifty way to ride the rails!
Daddy Jason's sure working hard.

And we wonder where the kids get their dramatic streak...

Talia and Eli hitch a ride up front.

Katelyn with her camera.  (Notice Nettie in the background.)

Jeanette joins the picture up close.

Jason finds the perfect seat for his skinny derriere.

Aunt Janet takes a seat and everyone decides to hitch a ride.  Why pay for a real train when you can make your own?

Skagway originally boomed during the goldrush; now it depends on the summer cruise ships to keep these stores in business.
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Adam with the baby carriage.

Eli enjoys some babying himself from cousin Alesia.
Katy, Kate...
...and Kara.
Well, I give up.  It's 2:00 am and I'm calling it quits.  While I may not be entirely done with the cruise, I assure you that I'm almost there.  We've made it through all the ports of call, so hopefully that counts for something.  In the meantime, schlaf wohl--good night. 

1 comment:

Heidi Naylor said...

Loved your Alaska posts! This is a delightful blog :)


PS peach pie anyone?