On August 17, 2013, we embarked Princess Cruise from Vancouver and started our 7 day sea and 4 day land exploration of Alaska.
Though we spent the first full day at sea, the cruise sailed close to land, there was plenty to see and do.
On 8/19/13, the ship docked at Ketchikan early. Since it’s a weekday, we decided to take the local bus and went to visit Totem Park, which was probably the most notable scenery in Ketchikan.
It was a relatively short trip to the Totem Park. We spent the rest of the day wandering around Ketchikan. We also walked the Married Man’s Trail to see the salmons fighting their way upstream to breed.
On day 5, we arrived at Juneau. We booked a 2-hour Glacier Trekking from NorthStar Trekking Company. It was one of the most memorable experiences at Alaska. It was expensive, 400$ per person, which included rental of the entire outfit, spiked shoes and trekking pole. Our morning excursion was cancelled due to poor weather condition, luckily, we left the afternoon open and the company was able to bring us up to the Glacier in the afternoon.
We decided to visit Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center in the morning. This is the closest point during the cruise one can get to the Mendenhall Glacier on foot.
Leaving the visitor center, we took a taxi to NorthStar Trekk where they fitted us with glacier trekking gears and gave a safety lesson. We then boarded a 6 person helicopter.
View from the helicopter:
Once we landed on the glacier, a guide led the four of us exploring the crevasse and cracks of the glacier. It was challenging to trek on ice. The view, however, was spectacular. We were told the misty weather actually brought the deepest blue out of the glacier, so much nicer than were it a sunny day.
8/21, Skagway. Those there were bus and train excursions, we decided to rent a car so that we can travel a bit further and avoid the cruise crowd. There was only one road to travel on, so you would never get lost. However, the weather condition could be mysterious. One minute it was beautiful and sunny and the next it was snowing to a point that we could hardly see more than 20 yard.
We stopped at Carcross for lunch.
And turned around after we reached Emerald Lake.
On the way back to Alaska, we visited Yukon Suspension Bridge.
The following 2 days are scenic cruising. It was cold on the deck, but the glaciers were so beautiful and made every single of those freezing moment worthwhile.
Glacier National Park
Arriving Whittier and boarding bus to start land excursion.