This was mine and Mr. Tattered’s 2nd visit to Alaska. The first we took in 2010, and liked it so much we wanted to take the girls for our annual summer vacation with them. Mama is usually able to join us for a portion of the trip. BUT, in her new position she has a lot more flexibility and was able to get away for the whole 2 weeks.
So the five of us were off an Alaskan adventure!
We did a combination trip, half off on our own, the other half a cruise.
We started by flying to Seattle and catching the Alaskan Ferry out of Bellingham.
It has staterooms and a dining room, and is a good way to get from place to place in Alaska, as there are very few roads, and some places that are only accessible by air or water.
The girls were asked to participate in the safety demonstration and were rewarded with a pre-dinner ice cream!
They watched movies in the theater room, roamed around on deck, and of course we played a lot of UNO. We also worked on our journals and read. Mr. Tattered and the daughter rediscovered the joy of Alaskan Amber Ale and made its consumption a daily ritual.
It was a relaxing two day trip.
Our destination was Wrangell, AK. We had heard that the Anan Bear Preserve outside of Wrangell was a good place to see bears, in lieu of taking them on a float plane to Brooks Falls where we had seen the bears on our first trip. So we built the first part of the trip around this area.
But, it was very warm in Alaska this year. We packed like Eskimos, and would have been better off packing for Maui. (Slight exaggeration, but not much!) The bears agreed. They are not thrilled by the prospect of being out in the heat, and what should have been a viewing of many bears was pretty thin. They preferred to stay in the caves where it was cooler. We saw no grizzly bears, only the smaller black bears, and only a few of them. Still we got some some nice shots.
We were even treated to watching one bear climb a tree. The girls cracked up watching him pee and poop from his aerial position. Makes you think twice about walking through the woods without a hat on!
We also took a tour of the Stikine River…
and one to the LaConte glacier. On the way to LaConte we saw a sight we normally see in Maui, but with pine trees instead of palm trees!
LaConte was our favorite of the three trips. It is a very active glacier, and we saw lots of “calving” (the act of the glacier splitting off and falling into the sea.) It rivaled anything we had seen in Glacier Bay in terms of beauty, and was actually more fun in that there was so much more activity.
The blue here isn’t photoshopped or enhanced in any way. Can you believe the color???
All three trips were were on a small boat based out of Wrangell. The captain/guide was great fun and took extra care to make sure the girls had a good time.
We really enjoyed the B&B we stayed in. It was right on the shore – peaceful and beautiful. With the warm temperatures the girls were able to go beach combing and came home with lots of shells, sea glass and cool rocks.
We even had a bonfire and made s’mores one night. It was hard to wrap our heads around the fact that we were in ALASKA doing this!
I made a list for the girls of things to look for while we were in Alaska, sort of an “on paper” scavenger hunt. On it I put both the sun and a “sucker hole” (a place in the sky where the sun tried to peek out but couldn’t quite make it.) I figured the sun would be the hard one to find, but it turned out to be the sucker hole, although they did get to see one eventually!
From Wrangell we flew to Petersburg, then Juneau, then on to Seattle again to catch our cruise ship. 4 airports in one day, but it all went smoothly!
Our cruise left the next day. I am not a big fan of large cruise ships, but it was good for the girls. They swam in the pool nearly every day, some days with the lid on (when it was overcast) but mostly with it open since it was so warm. It was crazy to be sunning ourselves with glaciers in the background! The dining room had good food and wine, and we overdid both just a little. We had stops in Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and Victoria, along with a tour of Glacier Bay.
More on the cruise portion of the trip tomorrow!