Two rugged, beautiful places stole our hearts this year: Utah and Alaska. Neither were originally on our radar, but we’re now singing the praises of both. Our last post on Juneau showed our time in the Juneau area; we took two day trips from there to Glacier Bay National Park and the tiny town of Skagway. Here are some shots from both — again, we’ll let the photos do most of the talking.
Glacier Bay was a one-of-a-kind adventure: we took a boat ride through a glacier-filled national park with wildlife sightings at every turn.
Within minutes, we saw our first whale flukes, and Alex nabbed this picture. It was one of the highlights of the day, for sure.
We also saw seals, puffins, orcas (killer whales), mountain goats, grizzly bears, and all sorts of birds, all in their natural habitat. A bit surreal.
Snack time was salmon chowder, which was perfect after standing out on the chilly upper deck.
And then, the glaciers! This is mile-wide Margerie Glacier. As we sat and stared, chunks of the glacier would break off and fall into the water (called “calving”).
The next day, we were ready for another adventure, this time to the mining town of Skagway with my family and my sister’s fiancé’s family, who are Juneau natives. They must have been trying to show off, and it worked — at their request, the pilot of our tiny plane flew directly over the glaciers and ice fields to get to Skagway. We looked down on amazing IMAX-style views that few people have seen so closely. Here’s what we saw (the paths that look like roads are actually made by glaciers.).
After that ride, Skagway was a liiiitle bit of a let down (agreed upon by all), but it was a sweet little mining mountain town. We stayed the night in a quaint hotel, went hiking on a peat moss trail, and took a ride on the old train that carried gold-rushers to the Klondike in the 1890’s.
After all that hiking and train riding, fish and chips was in order. This halibut was delicately-breaded perfection.
The way home to Juneau was a bit harried, jumbled about by the turbulence of a rainstorm in a tiny 5-seater plane. Luckily we made it back to solid ground and I still had time to catch my fish (though during that flight I’d already decided my life had been long and fulfilling and I was ready, if need be!).
Alaska is a gem and we couldn’t have asked for more. Thanks again to my parents for arranging everything, to my sister for coming home, and for her fiancé and his parents for being the best tour guides we could imagine. Let us know if you have any questions about the area! There is so much more of Alaska to explore – we can’t wait!
Other Travel Posts
Arches National Park + Monument Valley, Utah
Traverse City, Michigan
Amalfi Coast: Positano, Capri, & Ravello, Italy
Rome and Naples, Italy
Cambodia and Laos