All good things must come to an end. So goes this daily journal describing what for Ann and me was a trip of a lifetime. This amazing two week vacation has been shared by 47 individuals and couples, some of whom were at first strangers, now a group of somewhat homesick friends.
This twelfth day began like so many others, a gathering for breakfast and then a loading onto the motor coach for sights unseen.
After less than an hour on the Alaskan highway with stunning views of Turnagain Arm, we pulled into a rest stop in the ski resort town of Girdwood, located south of Anchorage. Everyone was eager to take in not only a great little bake shop, but a collection of flowers that would make any Texas gardener’s jaw drop!
Before boarding the motor coach, the ladies took in an on-sight jewelry shop specializing in Jade. Hellen Sullivan, who just happened to be celebrating a birthday today, took time to see what the counters had to offer!
Another stop along the beautiful stretch of Cook’s Inlet and Turnagain Sound, offered not only more amazing scenery, but a chance to see how cold those waters were. Our traveling friends included several natives of Minnesota who demonstrated how to enjoy a barefoot dip.
Finally, it was back on the motor coach headed for our destination, the port town of Whittier, Alaska and a cruise on the protected waters of Prince William Sound.
We arrived on the dock with a little time to spare before boarding our vessel, so we roamed the busy port with its fleet of pleasure and fishing boats and even took in a few gift shops.
Soon it was time to board what is billed as “The Fastest and Most Luxurious Catamaran in Alaska…The Klondike Express.” This vessel would take its passengers on an afternoon cruise of 26 glaciers! Along the way, cameras were clicking as harbor seals, sea otters and even a pod of Dall Porpoises made appearances alongside our ship.
The highlights, of course, were the amazing glaciers which put us in awe as The Klondike Express glided through the pristine passages of Prince William Sound. We were so fortunate to actually see what is known as “calving” at one point. This is where the glacier’s thick ice sheets collapse into the cold waters below making an explosive sound!
Needless to say, our 14 day Alaskan experience was one that none of us will soon forget and the friendships we’ve made will be cherished for many years to come! Thanks for your many comments to this set of blog entries. I hope that many of you will someday follow in our footsteps and take in the breathtaking beauty that our 49th state has to offer!
Rusty's Entire Alaskan Travel Blog
Part 1 - Seattle
Part 2 - Vancouver
Part 3 - “The Inside Passage”
Part 4 - Ketchikan
Part 5 - Juneau
Part 6 - The White Pass and Yukon Narrow Gauge
Part 7 - Canadian Yukon
Part 8 - Fairbanks
Part 9 - Panning for Gold
Part 10 - Denali
Part 11 - Mt. McKinley and Wasilla
Part 12 - Anchorage and Prince William Sound