Flashback Friday Time!
TGIF! I don’t know about you guys but I was so ready for it to be Friday! I decided to dive into my mental archive for one of my past trips for you! My trip to Alaska when I was 15 was definitely one of the most amazing trips that I have ever been on. So let me talk a walk down memory lane and take you on a journey to America’s last frontier!
My mom decided to plan this family trip after a very frightful time for our family. When I was a freshman my father was going on his normal trail walks in the fall to prepare for his annual Elk hunting trip in Montana. He had told my mother who is a Registered Nurse that he was getting a little chest pain when he would walk up hill so she set up a doctor’s appointment for him. His primary care doctor sent him over to a cardiologist who did a few tests and said it wasn’t his heart. My father was still experiencing some chest pain so his primary doctor sent him back to a different cardiologist for a second opinion. They discovered that my father had four blockages of 95% or more in his left ventricle and was then diagnosed with coronary artery disease. He went into surgery for stents and needless to say did not travel to Montana that year. It was scary to think that if he had went that he probably would not have came back alive. This inspired my mother to make sure we were living our lives to the fullest.
My mothered planned a two week Alaskan vacation for us the following year. She worked countless hours to make sure we would have the trip of a lifetime. Alaska is not a cheap venture; especially the type of trip that we went on. We did a seven day cruise and a seven day land package through Princess Cruiseline.
Our trip started with a flight to Vancouver to board the ship. Our ship left Vancouver and ported in Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway. The ship also did a visit into Glacier Bay. The land package took by scenic glass top railroad cars to overnight stops in Mt. McKinley State Park, Denali State Park, the Kenai Peninsula and Fairbanks. These trains were specifically used for Princess Cruiselines as were the hotels.
Now since this was before I had a real DSLR and any sense of blogging I was able to compile some photos to show you through the eyes of others. To be honest, Alaska is a trip that even when you get home and go through your photos, you will see that photos will never do it justice. One of the best parts of this trip besides the scenery were the great friends that I met onboard that I am still in touch with to this day! That is one of the great things about cruising as a child. The kids programs are amazing and you meet some amazing people that you would have never known if you hadn’t been there!
Ketchikan is part of the start of the Inside Passage upward to Alaska. It is a very popular cruise port that is adorned with native totem poles and beautiful wilderness views. My dad enjoyed some great salmon fishing in this port.
Juneau is not your average state capital. It looks more like a descent size rural town. My mother and I just walked this shops in the port. My father and brother went on the excursion of a lifetime. They were flown to the top of a glacier by helicopter where they went dogsledding across the top of the glacier.
Skagway was our final port on the cruise. It’s a small little town with a gorgeous mountain back drop. We took the scenic railway excursion. The breath taking view of the White Mountains and serene wilderness is beyond what you could ever imagine.
During the cruise we also pulled into glacier bay. Even though most of this August cruise the temperatures ranged between 75-82, obviously glacier bay was a different story. Glacier bay required hoodies/coats and gloves. Winter Wonderland doesn’t even begin to describe the view. Watching pieces of ice cave into the ocean would take your breath. It is one of the most beautiful natural wonders that you will ever see.
When we got off the boat we were led to Princess Cruiseline railcars. These rail cars were complete glass top so as you made your way up the state, you had 360 degree views! Each lodge that we stayed at on land was a princess lodge as well. Princess is pretty much the Disney World of Alaska tourism.
Our first stop was Kenai. This was hands down my favorite stop. My father took another fishing excursion while my mother, brother and myself kayaked the Kenai River. Now I have been to the Caribbean and that blue water is gorgeous. This blue water is unlike any other. I always said if I hit the lottery that I would purchase a summer home in Kenai and kayak the river all day long!
The next two stops were at Mt. McKinley and Denali State Park. The experience of seeing Mt. McKinley is one in a million. The lodge at Mt. McKinley actually had a small Christmas Party for all of their guests with music, stories and cookies! The size of the mountain is absolutely astounding and is the perfect backdrop for any photo. Denali State Park was littered with reindeer and bears as we took a bus tour through the park.
Fairbanks was our final stop. We were scheduled for a hot air balloon ride to see the nothern lights. Unfortunately the weather was not cooperating so we had to skip that. It was nice to have a bit of a rest day at the end though. This is a trip that puts your brain on overload as you try to take in everything.
Alaska is a horse of a different color. Her beauty is pure and untouched. If you get the opportunity to go, do not put it off. You only live once so do what you can to see what you can!