I could write posts and posts about our Alaska cruise, but I’m trying not to! In the interests of not boring everyone senseless, I’ve condensed the entire week into this single account, itself a lightly-edited version of the brief notes I took each day. We sailed with Princess cruises from Anchorage (Whittier) south through the inside passage to Vancouver, past the glaciers of Yakutat bay and Glacier Bay national park, stopping at Haines, Juneau and Ketchikan, and then caught the decidedly unglamorous but perfectly convenient Greyhound bus down to Seattle for a cheaper flight home to Newark.
Along the way we saw harbour seals and Steller sea lions, Pacific white-sided dolphins, humpback whales and a lone orca, and, magically, the Northern Lights. We shared a dinner table with some extremely nice people, and met all kinds of fellow travellers around the ship. We ate lots of food, drank plenty of cocktails, and generally had a lovely time – looking through my notes and photos is making me wish I was back there right now!
Friday September 1st was going to be our big day out at the Alaska State Fair, until we checked our tickets and realised that it didn’t actually open until noon. Luckily this happened the night before, so we had time to choose another local attraction to visit in the morning – the Independence gold mine. (We very nearly didn’t make it there either thanks to a Google mapping snafu, but happily the wonders of mobile technology set us back on track.) Continue reading →
Denali National Park is particularly concerned with preserving as much land as possible in a pristine wilderness condition. Consequently, there are only a handful of areas within the park boundaries that visitors are permitted to access, and across its 6 million acres there is just a single 92 mile-long road, only the first 15 miles of which are paved. Visitors can travel the road by means of the park bus service, there are a handful of campsites along the way, and a few lucky individuals can take a backcountry hike with a ranger each day.
Pretty much as soon as we got home from our 2015 trip to Hawaii, we started joking that Alaska was next on the bucket list. However, the distance involved, and the fact that everyone we know who has visited encouraged us to take a cruise, meant that it was very much on the “one day” end of the spectrum. Fast forward to a quiet weekend in autumn 2016 – we were idly wondering just how much a cruise might cost, decided to look it up, discovered an affordable option in early September 2017, and booked it on the spot.
Since the cruise was a week-long voyage from Anchorage (well, Whittier) south to Vancouver, we decided to arrive early and spend some time in Alaska before boarding the ship, which quickly turned into a fairly epic trip – we flew into Anchorage and spent a day there, rented a car and drove up to Denali national park for a couple of days hiking and enjoying the wilderness, headed to Palmer for the Alaska state fair, and then ended up back in Anchorage to return the car before setting sail.