Alaska/Denali National Park

Welcome to the beauty of Denali National Park!

We stayed at the Grande Denali Lodge overnight which was beautiful!  We had various options that we could do for this night.  Some of our crew went on a whitewater raft trip.

Whitewater raft adventure!

Some of them went on a nature hike and saw some awesome scenery!

I went along with a friend to see Jeff King’s sled dogs.  Jeff King was a four time Iditarod champion and since we both just love dogs we figured this would be something that we would enjoy and we sure did!

The puppies.

Jeff King

We all met back up at the Grande Denali Lodge for an evening of fun and discussing what each of us did that night.  The next day the tour had us up early for a Denali Natural History Tour.  We met with the tour director who took us on a bus ride through Denali National Park.  Here are some of the scenery pictures that I took along our ride.

We went in September and the colors were simply beautiful as you can see from the pictures above.  After our tour through Denali, we caught the Wilderness Express for our next stop; Talkeetna.  The wilderness express is the Royal Caribbean’s glass train that takes you from Denali to Talkeetna and through which you can see some of the most beautiful scenery that Alaska offers.

Please come back next week for our adventure in Talkeetna!

Alaska/Anchorage/Fairbanks

Welcome to Anchorage!

We picked up a bus from Royal Caribbean that took us to Anchorage.   The plan was to visit the Anchorage Museum which was interesting.  We then had some time to eat lunch before we took a flight to Fairbanks.

Fairbanks!

Sophie’s Station

By the time we arrived in Fairbanks, we were all pretty tired and hungry so we went to dinner then to sleep.  Royal Caribbean put us up at Sophie Station Hotel which was nice.  They had us up and going early the next day.  We took a Riverboat Discover Tour; which was kind of touristy but nice.

Riverboat Tour

Moose we saw on the riverboat tour.

After the Riverboat Discover Tour we went into downtown Fairbanks where we were able to explore their historic downtown area and have some lunch.  After lunch we got back on the bus and drove to Denali National Park.

Alaskan Pipeline

Along the way to Denali National Park, we stopped at the Alaskan Pipeline.   The pipeline was constructed in 1977 as a means of transporting petroleum from the oilfields at Prudhoe Bay to the marine terminal in Valdez where it is loaded aboard tankers for the journey to US refineries.  It took two years to finish this project and was a major economic boost to Alaska.

Please join me next week as we travel to Denali National Park!

Alaska/Hubbard Glacier

Hubbard Glacier (Cruise By)

Welcome to Hubbard Glacier, the longest and most active tidewater glacier in Alaska.  Measuring 76 miles from its source to the sea, this marvel of nature stretches from Mt. Logan in the Yukon to Disenchantment Bay.

There is nothing more exciting than watching a massive chunk of ice as it comes crashing down into the bay.   The roaring sound that goes with it is just as thrilling.  This is called glacier calving or as the Tingit people say; White Thunder.  We managed to capture this phenomenon on video; see below.

We sailed along the face of Hubbard Glacier and could see numerous small icebergs float past us.  Since the Radiance of the Seas has so many windows, you can see this magnificent river of ice from just about anywhere on the ship.  We had a balcony room so we alternated between the top deck and our balcony to see the view.

This was our last night on the ship.  We docked the next morning at Seward and took a bus to Anchorage.  Please join me next week as we start the land portion of our trip.

 

Alaska, Hoonah (Icy Strait Point)

Welcome to Icy Strait Point and the town of Hoonah!

Our next port was Icy Strait Point.  We were originally supposed to go to this port earlier in the cruise, but two police officers were shot and killed during this time so the cruise line made a decision to have us port there later in the cruise when things had calmed down.

We all went separate ways at this port.  Some of us walked into the sleepy town of Hoonah; a couple went on a whale watch from the ship’s excursions and the rest went on a whale watch that they set up on their own.

I was part of the group that walked into Hoonah.  Hoonah is the largest Tlingit village in Alaska.  About 70% of its residents are of Alaska Native heritage.  There really is not much there to see so after a brief walk around we ended up back at the port where there was shopping.  We sat by the fire pit and enjoyed watching the zip line.

The dock area that had shopping.

The group that went whale watching did see a number of whales and sea lions.

Sea Lions off the whale watching boat.

After this group did the whale watching, they ended up in Hoonah where they lunched at The Office.  They all raved over how good the crabs were and you can see from the picture below just how big they were.

Of course they had to have beer with their crab lunches.  As I’ve said before, these guys are home brewers and will stop anywhere that has local beers on tap to try out.

I would recommend you look into some excursions while in the port of Icy Strait Point as the town of Hoonah does not offer much in the way of site seeing.

Please join me next week as we cruise past Hubbard Glacier!