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A Wilderness Adventure June 2006


Cruising the Inside Passage we spotted a sister ship gliding along the snow-capped coastline


By Land and Sea

Our Alaskan Adventure began in Anchorage, turned south to Seward to hunt for glaciers, then headed north to Denali, the last great American wilderness. The train took us back to Prince William Sound, where our ship sailed down the coast to gaze at glaciers and to stop in towns along the Inside Passage Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, and finally disembark in Vancouver.


From Arizona to Anchorage

Stop the Presses

In June 2006 we joined Mark and Cyndi for a newsworthy cruise vacation in Alaska. I met Mark in 1972 when we worked at the Detroit News as apprentice printers. We still have ink in our veins and adventure in our hearts


There'snow place like Alaska to beat the heat for us desert rats. Imagine our surprise when we flew from arid, brown Arizona over the snow-covered Canadian Rockies and saw a winter wonderland out our airplane window


The grass covered log cabin visitor's center in downtown Anchorage gave us our first taste of the wild and weird in America's last frontier


Glacier Hunting
Cherie and I rented a car in Anchorage and drove south to Seward on Prince William Sound in search of glaciers. The scenery was beautifully mountainous, foggy, and snowy the drive reminded us of the Alps.

Rounding Turnagain Bay, at right, we entered Kenai Peninsula, lunched at a harborside restaurant in Seward, and set out to find Exit Glacier pictured in the Park Service brochure below

By the time we got to the Resurrection Bay harbor in Seward, Cherie was hungry enough to eat a bear, but settled for the fish

Nourished and rested, we drove down deserted back roads and found our first glacier, the blue river of ice in the photo below

Blue Ice
We didn't realize that glaciers were blue until we saw them in Alaska.

The neat thing about Exit Glacier is that you can walk right up and touch it, right.


We drove about an hour-and-a-half to the northest to the Portage Glacier area to see more glaciers, and took a hike on the foggy Byron Glacier trail to get a close up view of this mountain glacier

In places the trail was still snow covered, left, where winter avalanches had not completely melted. Cherie complained about walking in the snow in her tennis shoes. I wondered why she'd bought a nice pair of hiking boots before we left Arizona. But hey, who am I to talk about footwear fashion?

Looking south to the Byron Glacier, above, and north across the glacial river to the Portage mountains, below.

This was a blessed relief from summer in Arizona.

A sign along the glacier trail advised hikers to be on the lookout for bears and protect themselves by making noise. Some hikers therefore wore bells on the shoes, reinforcing the wintry, shall I say Christmasy, atmosphere of the glacial mountains.

The only bear Cherie saw that day was one in front of a souvenir shop in Anchorage, where bears are more likely to take a bite out of your wallet than your hide.


Land of the
Midnight Sun

The sun never seemed to set on Anchorage. We walked to the downtown restaurants, ate leisurely meals, and came back to the hotel room still rarin' to go at 11:00 p.m., when this photo was taken from our hotel room.

A view of the Cook Inlet from our room in the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage, left


For some reason, Cherie is fascinated by earthquakes. Everywhere we go along the west coast, she's reading up on the big ones in the area we've visiting. Alaska sustained one of the largest ones in North America, when in 1964 a magnitude 9.2 earthquake devastated Anchorage and the surrounding area.

Epicenter of damage was along Anchorage's 4th Avenue.
Here's today's view looking east.

Earthquake damage is still seen southeast of Anchorage, where we found this collapsed house along Turnagain Arm

A photo of the earthquake damage looking east along 4th Avenue on March 27, 1964

photo from "www.greatdreams.com"

When Mark and Cyndi joined us in Anchorage, we took them to our favorite bar and grill, the Glacier Brewhouse, for a taste of fine beer and fresh seafood
Cyndi keeps Mark in check with a flick of the wrist. "Talk to the hand," she says, stopping Mark in his verbal tracks

There's always time for a little prayer when confronted with the power of Mother Nature still on our minds. This Catholic church advises its parishiners to avoid the fast food joint's parking lot next door, the ironically named "Wings and Things." And while in Alaska's largest city you can't help but do a little souvenir shopping in the quaint shops along 4th Avenue. If we had room in our suitcases, Mark and I would have bought this moose head and a couple of totem poles for good luck.


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