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Chugach Mountains Panorama from Richardson Highway near Thompson Pass

Chugach Mountains PanoramaView All Sizes

My Dad near Matanuska River, Alaska

My Dad near Matanuska RiverView All Sizes

JOURNAL : August 27, 2010

Driving through Alaska

Alaska > United States

Series Driving through Alaska
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My dad started all this. He wanted to take a cruise and go fishing in Alaska. My sister and I said sure! We strong-armed grandma into going too. From Seattle we hopped aboard Royal Caribbean's Inside Passage cruise which stops in Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia on the return leg. The cruise itself is entertaining and helps to return those lost pounds to their rightful places.

Horsetail Falls in Keystone Canyon near Thompson Pass.

Horsetail Falls, Keystone CanyonView All Sizes

Family photo while embarking

Our Group

A Day in Juneau

While ashore in Juneau we took the Mount Roberts Tramway, then a helicopter ride to Mendenhall Glacier for some crunching about on the compressed ice. Later, out beyond Auke Bay for a whale-watching expedition. It was a pretty busy day.

The Gangway at Skagway

Gangway at Skagway

Skagway

Just up the Lynn Canal in Skagway we opted for the classic White Pass Yukon Route train ride to Fraser, British Columbia. It's highly recommended for folks who like classic trains. Whizzing down the Klondike Highway on a bicycle was how I got back to Skagway that day.

One of many peaceful scenes of the Japanese Garden in Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens

Before returning to Seattle we stopped over in Victoria and explored the gorgeous Butchart Gardens. The vivid colors and detailed subject matter were a marked contrast to the vast panorama of Alaska.

Return to Alaska

After disembarking in Seattle my dad and I flew up to Anchorage. Our intent was to explore a bit, visit some of the fishing towns and catch some fish.

White Pass Yukon Route Railroad

White Pass Yukon Route RailroadView All Sizes

Granite Walls of Keystone Canyon near Thompson Pass

Granite Walls of Keystone CanyonView All Sizes

Matanuska Glacier, source of the Matanuska River.

Matanuska GlacierView All Sizes

Semi-Trailer Truck on Richardson Highway

Semi-Trailer Truck on Richardson HighwayView All Sizes

Along the way Alaska impressed us with its magnificent natural beauty and intermittently dismal weather. But even the cold, drizzly conditions and misty mountains embodied the aloof splendor that characterizes Alaska as a remote wilderness that only opens itself up fully to pithy visitors. To really see the land one has to journey into its heart.

Bridal Veil Falls in Keystone Canyon near Thompson Pass.

Bridal Veil Falls, Keystone CanyonView All Sizes

Future Travel in Alaska

A journal doesn't have to be just what has been done, but what could also be. While travelling around Alaska we got a good taste of what was available, and made mental notes about what to do the next time.

Richardson Highway near Tiekel River and Worthington Glacier

Richardson Highway

For example, I would have liked to do more hiking and camping in the Chugach mountains of southcentral Alaska. On the way to Valdez around Thompson Pass we spotted quite a few great places to explore. And returning to Kenai Peninsula is high on the list. On the Kenai River we fished for salmon and ate delicious sushi and sashimi for the following month. Out in Homer we took a half-day halibut trip out into Kachemak Bay. In hindsight an overnight excursion might have yielded larger halibut, albeit at a much greater cost and commitment. As it was the day was mighty fine with plenty fish on the line. On the return journey we considered some whitewater rafting but the Kenai was quite sedate at the end of August. More turbulent river rapids would have lured us in.

So these are just a few things on the list : hiking, camping, river rafting or kayaking, glacier trekking.And then there's Denali. While we didn't make it far enough north to visit Denali National Park, it will be integral to our next visit to Alaska.

False Wolf Sighting

False Wolf Sighting

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Out on the highway in the middle of the endless wilderness we spotted a dark canine shape crossing the road. A wolf! So I get out and pursue it into the forest, but it turns out to be someone's dog that kinda resembles a wolf. Oh well...

The Trans-Alaska Pipeline

The Trans-Alaska PipelineView All Sizes

River, forest and mountains in Southcentral Alaska.

Somewhere in Southern Alaska...View All Sizes

The Pump Room, Bath, UK

The Pump Room

Four fire performers at SpinJam, Honolulu, Hawaii

SpinJam

Fryman Canyon and Mulholland Drive just west of the 101/170 freeway

Fryman Canyon

The Next Ridge over from the Ka’ala

Ridge, Ka’ala

Popular West Street

West Street

South of Downtown Juneau, with Fur Factory, Alaska Shirt Company and Red Dog Saloon visible.

Downtown Juneau

Manhattan, East River, Long Island from the Empire State Building

Manhattan

Jiuzhaigou Valley Road from Huanglong Airport

Jiuzhaigou Valley

Kayaking on Castle Lake

Kayaking Castle Lake

Random Adventures!

Tracy Arm Shore

Tracy Arm

Foresta is a community just outside Yosemite Valley near El Portal.

Foresta

Scenic red rocks, Schnebly Hill Road, Sedona, Arizona

Schnebly Hill Road

This huge hermit crab was trekking along this low wall near the visitor’s center at Isla Contoy, a bird sanctuary island off the Yucatan Coast and a few hours north by boat from Isla Mujeres. He was remarkably similar to the hermit crabs that invaded our campsite at night on St John in the Virgin Islands. They’re about as big as a fist, and solid as stone.

Hermit Crab, Isla Contoy

The Conde B. McCullough Memorial Bridge escorts Highway 101 over Coos Bay just north of North Bend, Oregon.

Coos Bay

The majestic towering cliffs over Kalalau Beach, Kauai

Towering Cliffs

Ruins of Stonehenge, near Bath, UK

Stonehenge

Shell House on Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Isla Mujeres

Viaduc du Pala. A tunnel along La Provençale, France

Tunnels of La Provençale

A small Marina with Papoose Lake in the background.

Lake Arrowhead