For this week’s #TBT (Travel Back Thursday), I bring you Alaska. One year ago, I made it to my 50th state. It was a major accomplishment for me in my life. A year and a half before, I made a goal to visit all 50 states by the time I was 30 with only 25 under my belt. A month after my 30th birthday, I made it to Alaska. The accumulation of planning and commitment, I achieved a goal that I thought would take me the majority of my adult life.
Mendenhall Glacier outside of Juneau, AK! WOW!
There are two ways to do Alaska: 1. by sea, 2. by land. I’ve heard land is amazing and what is highly recommended. Unfortunately, timing and the logistics wouldn’t work for for what I was planning; I opted for sea. As a victory celebration, I thought it would be fun to invite family and close friends to join me on an Alaskan adventure. A cruise ship would be the easiest way to plan this, as well as give each person the flexibility to design the trip to their interest. We could meet up for dinner in the evening and talk about what we experienced that day.
Life Lesson: when you have a chance to drink local – do.
In the end, we had a group of 13 brave the great Alaskan Wilderness. I mean, it was much more adventurous than you think. We survived a bear attack, a sinking ship, and an earthquake.
Be Bear Aware! We survived a “bear attack” when we had to walk past the grizzly to get from the Musher camp to our bus. The first bear sighting of the season.
I’d say we roughed it. The Crown Princess (Princess Cruise Lines) took us from Seattle, WA, to Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, and Victoria (Canada). It was absolutely amazing! We didn’t have long at each stop, so that is one reason to do a land trip. Just be careful, Juneau is the only US capital that is not connected to the rest of the state by a car. You can get there by air, sea, and birth canal (thanks to our tour guide for that funny joke!) It’s a big state, so make sure to plan any driving trips prior to arriving…
I didn’t realize it when booking, but May was a wonderful time to go. The mountains still have snow on the top; if I got to Alaska and didn’t see snow, I know I would have been upset. I originally wanted to go in April for the birthday, but cruises only leave from May until September. I imagine fall is a beautiful time to visit.
One of the most mind-blowing experiences about Alaska has sunk in more since I returned home than I could process while I was there. In most of the continental US, we are used to very populated areas. There are buildings, signs, roads, and other man-made items almost everywhere we look. Alaska is virtually untouched. There are no man-made items for our mind to recognize to put size in proportion.
What kind of blue is that? Windex Blue! They don’t look that big until you see the boat next to it.
Driving down the road, you see other cars, billboards, and buildings to show you how big a hill or mountain is. In Alaska, you don’t have that to scale. Sailing down the Inner Passage, there are rolling hills on either side, but it wasn’t until we passed an equally large cruise ship that they looked like mountains.
I’m really glad we did Alaska by sea for the first trip. We didn’t see much of the state, but we saw amazing landscapes, and it gave us the flexibility we needed for the trip. The inner passage is gorgeous, and I hope to visit it again.
Two lessons learned (besides staying longer):
- Get a balcony window. There is too much to watch in the inner passage. It’s not like sailing to the Caribbean where you see ocean for most of the time. This cruise provides opportunities to watch for animals and the shore line.
The water was as clear as glass throughout the entire voyage.
- On the visit to Tracey Arm Fjord, do the excursion to take a boat to the glacier. I can only imagine how amazing that would be from sea level.
Tracey Arm Fjord. This was something that I didn’t even know existed! We were lucky to get so close.
Some more pictures for fun..
Even though it was May, it definitely wasn’t a warm-weather adventure.
I desperately wanted to see a puffin, but no such luck. I LOVED this sign!
I am not a big beer drinker, but I love flights at microbreweries. It’s always great to sample! (This is from Skagway Brewing Company)
MUSH! Sitting on a dog sled. I almost packed my winter boots for this…good thing I didn’t!
Victoria, British Columbia. Stunning.