Wish I was There Wednesday

Maybe because winter has been fairly fleeting here snow wise, I decided to take a nostalgic  stroll through some photos of a trip to Alaska’s Inside Passage.

If you’ve never experienced a visit to this scenic destination, you’ve missed out on an amazing adventure. Incredible vistas, unique Native cultures and remarkable wildlife, Alaska has it all. While I would have loved to have spent some time at Glacier National Park, my visit was limited but still provided some incredible glimpses of this unforgettable state. So grab your beverage of choice and let’s see a few of the more notable scenes, shall we?

The Emerald City, aka Seattle

Departing from the port of Seattle with its infamous Space Needle on the horizon, the cruise ship headed northward toward Juneau. Named after the gold prospector Joe Juneau, the city became the state capitol in 1906. Due to its rugged terrain, Juneau is unique among state capitols insomuch as there are no roads connecting the city with the rest of the state although there is ferry service available for autos. It’s basically an island city…on land. You either have to fly or boat into the city. With around 31,000 full-time residents, the populations swells from May through September when cruise ships visit, by about 6,000 people per day.

Located approximately 12 miles from downtown Juneau is the famous Mendenhall Glacier and surrounding landscape which is protected as part of the 5,815 acres Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area, a federally designated portion of the Tongass National Forest. Despite the ongoing glacial ebb, this spectacular site will nevertheless take your breath away with its sheer size and presence. Given that temperatures continue to rise throughout Alaska and fact that the end of the glacier has a negative mass balance, it will continue to retreat.

I was mesmerized by the floating pieces of the glacier in Mendenhall Lake and with the ice color which appears blue due to the absorption of all colors of the visible light spectrum except for blue, which it transmits. Named after noted scientist, Thomas C. Mendenhall  who served as Superintendent of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey from 1889 to 1894, he also served on the Alaska Boundary Commission and was responsible for surveying the international boundary between Canada and Alaska. In 1892, this glacier was renamed to honor Mendenhall. The naturalist, John Muir, had first named the glacier “Auke Glacier” in 1879 after the Aak’w Kwaan of the Tlingit Indians. Bear sightings are not unusual in the area and one must be vigilant when hiking.

Tracy Arm Fjord, south of Juneau is a deep and narrow fjord with considerable floating ice ranging from hand-sized to pieces as large as a three-story building.

Tracy Arm Fjord
Floating Ice ~ Tracy Arm Fjord

No trip to the Inner Passage is complete without a stop in Skagway. Noted for being the setting in Jack London’s “Call of the Wild,” Will Hobbs’s book Jason’s Gold, and for Joe Haldeman’s novel Guardian, as well as  John Wayne’s film “North to Alaska” filmed nearby. Skagway became populated after thousands of miners hoped to strike it rich in the region during the Klondike Gold Rush.

The prospectors’ journey began for most as soon as they climbed over the White Pass above Skagway. In 1898 the White Pass Yukon Route began laying narrow gauge railroad tracks along the route as a result of the gold rush. One notable hooligan interred in Skagway’s Boot Hill is Jefferson Randolph “Soapy” Smith, one of the most unscrupulous con men of the time.

White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad
Colorful Skagway garden

Alaska’s native people (Eskimos) have had a significant impact on the state’s culture and the many museums along the way should not be missed.

After taking in some incredible handcrafted items, it’s always good to experience the bounty of the sea. Crab anyone?

Alaskan King Crab ~ it doesn’t get any fresher than this.

Many other stops along the way provided equally stunning scenery. I could go on and on about beautiful and fascinating Alaska with its wide and breathtaking vistas. It’s not uncommon to see a spouting blow-hole from a whale along the way but you need to be quicker than I was at trying to photograph it. Though failing at any photographic remembrance, that image will remain forever burnished in my memory. And so will the sunsets.

You simply can’t go wrong taking a trip to the 50th 49th (with thanks to Evil Squirrel) state for seeing beautiful locations and learning about the Old West Frontier. Have you ever been there? What was your favorite part?

Live, love, bark❣

50 thoughts on “Wish I was There Wednesday

  1. You took me down memory lane. I loved my trip to Alaska, which I took in May, when snow was still on the ground. I remember going on a hike with my husband and stopping to eat a sandwich in the wilderness, sitting on a tree trunk….stupidly turning ourselves into bear bait! I also highly recommend going to Alaska. We might even take a road trip at some point.

    1. When I was there in September, there was still snow on many northern slopes. You especially don’t want to mess with Alaskan bears in autumn while they are storing up to go into hibernation.

  2. What wonderful photos!!!! I love Alaska – I’ve been there on a hiking vacation, staying at backcountry cabins along the way. “Hey Bear” was the theme song for the trip! We loved it, and we’d love to drive there in our LabMobile someday!

  3. Lovely incentive for me, reading this beautiful post, to get back to Alaska. I’ve only been to Anchorage so, after reading this, naturally I’ve missed out on A LOT! Stunning photos! I ran the Anchorage Midnight Sun marathon and enjoyed multiple moose sightings and –not so enjoyable– the real threat of a bear the day after, in my Aunt’s neighborhood, whilst walking off post-marathon soreness. Yep…I ran! Thanks for sharing! An Alaskan Inner Passage trip is back on the bucket list. Sigh…. So many places to go…so little time (and money).

    1. Thank you for the kind words, Cristina. Alaska is truly a fascinating place and unlike much of what’s in the Lower 48. It’s definitely worth of a trip and a cruise is a great way to see a lot in a short period of time for the average tourist. Yeah, that whole time/money thing restricts far more than I’d prefer, too. 😊

  4. Several years ago a co-worker had me tune in via the Internet to a radio station in Anchorage. They actually issued bear warnings like traffic updates. Gave new meaning to the words “rush hour.” Great photos.

    1. Thank you for the kind words. Yes, radio warnings of bear activity would be a bit of a trip. A park ranger ushered a number of hikers out at Mendenhall because fresh bear scat had been found. Talk about ‘rush’ hour indeed! Couldn’t leave quick enough.😊

  5. Absolutely GORGEOUS photos! My Mom once went on an Alaskan cruise, that is something I would love to do. The entire Pacific Northwest is on my bucket list, it’s so gorgeous there!

  6. Such beautiful photos and memories!
    Thanks for the history behind some of these places. We wonder if many people actually found gold in Skagway?
    The blue throughout the glacier and on the floating ice is one of my favourite colours. Stunning!

    the critters in the cottage xo

  7. That is one place I’ve always wanted to go…maybe someday! That is so interesting about Juneau, I never knew that. Thanks for the little escape today, I needed it!

  8. I have always wanted to make a trip to Alaska and still hope to some day! Gosh, the photo of the floating ice looks like a giant quartz crystal. Very interesting that the glacier and the pieces of floating ice look blue from absorbing the colors – does it look as blue in real life as in the photos?

    1. Royal Caribbean was the cruise line I used. I wholeheartedly recommend them, for Alaska or for the Caribbean (I’ve done both with them and have always had a great time). I suspect there are all sorts of various day excursions available but don’t know specific details about fishing trips. Ooh, August would be a fabulous time to go. The weather is lovely. I went on the last week of the season in September) and it was a bit chilly some days. Even then, it was pretty amazing and had a super time.

  9. Wow!! What a beautiful place!!! I loved all the photos! Especially that little blue glacier piece, so pretty! It looked like glass! And that bucket of crab! YUMMMMM…..I eat crab remnants at low tide but I bet they taste nothing like the fresh stuff in that bucket!

    1. Tee, hee. I’m sure some of the low tide stuff is ‘slightly’ different from the bucket stuff. Those glacier pieces are so incredibly beautiful. If only I could make that shade when painting in watercolors 😇

  10. Great pics! Especially liked the blue floating ice and sunset picture. 🙂
    My sisters and I sent our parents on a cruise to Alaska for their 50th anniversary. They LOVED it! My Dad said they would almost be tempted to move there. They loved the beauty of it. I know they went to Stagway and Juneau, can’t remember the other places that they stopped at.
    I had to laugh about your comment on being fast when trying to capture a picture of a whale. So true! When my Mom was showing us pictures we never had seen so many whale tails before! 🙂 She just wasn’t quick enough the majority of the time.
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks for going on our own little ‘cruise’ through my photos. Yeah, there were so many whale tail tips that got deleted. Ugh. Alaska is a lovely place to visit but probably not be too hospitable to live full time. The weather can be extremely harsh and because everything has to be shipped up there, pretty expensive. Still, it’s a fascinating place with a rich legacy.

      1. Yes that is why my parents would think twice about going. They have visited practically all the places in the US and Alaska was one of their favorite states.

  11. Being a self professed homebody I am not inclined to travel. I did a LOT for work back in the day and saw lots of Airports, hotels, and meeting rooms but few sights. However, Alaska has always been a place I’d like to see via cruise and some land adventures. If I had a bucket list (like New Years resolutions I don’t do bucket lists either) Alaska would be on it. Thanks for sharing this info and photos.

    1. When you have to do a lot of traveling for work, it’s hard to fathom doing it for fun. Traveling itself is not a very pleasant experience anymore. But I can assure you, a trip to the Alaskan Frontier would be worth it. And with climate change, it is changing far too rapidly and may not be nearly as recognizable in the future. In the meantime, sit back, have a glass of wine and watch those beautiful pups from the deck.

  12. SQUAAAAAAWK? Hysterical History. Alaska is the 48th state-Hawaii is the 50th. I live in the 48th. Also, how can Juneau become a state capitol in 1906 when Alaska didn’t become a state until 1959? Sam, hit the history books.

  13. That sunset photo is really trippy looking! It’s almost like looking in a kaleidoscope…

    Oh, and feel free to smack me for being a smart-you-know-what, but Alaska’s the 49th state. It officially beat Hawaii to statehood by a few months…

  14. How interesting about why the ice is blue. The vistas are breathtaking, and the bears dangerous! I would love to go sometime, and am glad you got to experience our 50th state.

  15. I would like to see all this too… but not now… I only want to be somewhere sunny this moment, we have the coldest days ever… even Paris is dark now (eggs-cept the eiffel tower) over night, because our fab leaders and their clean energy idea leads to power-shortage… ;O((((

  16. Looks like your crabbing was done off a Vancouver, B.C. boat! I hope trump (small “t” quite intentional) never finds out, with his rigid nationalistic perspectives! 🙂

    1. Near Prince Rupert in fact. I only used that photo because I had never been that close to crabbers on the trip.

      Yeah, well what that imbecile doesn’t know (and it is considerable) can be left between us.

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