Sunday, July 07, 2019

Alaska Cruise 2019

For their 50th anniversary, my parents took us on an awesome Alaska cruise and land adventure.  Here are the highlights.
Vancouver - spent 2 days in this very nice city; took a bicycle tour of Stanley Park; took water taxi to Granville Island; explored Elizabeth Park; does not have rideshare for some reason; Hotel Blu is highly recommended
Ketchikan - first port of call; took a short nature hike to learn about the southeast Alaskan ecosystem; saw a black bear mom and her two cubs and lots of bald eagles; Bengt licked a banana slug and got a numb tongue
Juneau - rode the tram to Mt. Roberts and hiked to Brown's cross for great views; took a long hike near Mendenhall Glacier and saw a porcupine climbing a tree
Skagway - visited the NP museum; took a cool train ride up to White Pass
Glacier Bay NP - saw whales but not too closely
College Bay - saw orcas and otters; in many ways this bay is better than Glacier Bay
Whittier - docked and boarded the Alaska Railroad for the trip to Talkeetna
Talkeetna - didn't have much time here so just ate and got on the bus to Denali State Park
McKinley Princess Lodge - our first land day; did a hike up a ridge to great views; were able to see Denali from the lodge which is pretty rare especially given the smoke from the many wildfires; be sure to get the chili fries at the Base Camp restaurant
Denali Princess Lodge - took a bus to DPL; arrived in time to get to the NP visitor center; hiked to a beaver pond in light rain and saw the beaver swimming around inspecting his work; next day took an all-day bus tundra tour; saw lots of caribou, a fox and his family, a large brown bear in the distance, ptarmigan; golden eagles, Dall sheep, artic ground squirrels, and a moose right along the road; only large mammal we didn't see was a wolf but the guide said it is very rare to see them on the tour
Anchorage - took yet another bus to Anchorage and stayed at the very nice Hotel Captain Cook; the Crow's Nest restaurant is highly recommended