Sunday, August 28, 2011

Alaska in pictures.

First of all, I am lucky to say that Brent and I have survived Hurricane Irene (we are some of the few with electricity) and also survived the earthquake earlier this week. 2 new experiences for me, and I think that's enough natural disasters for awhile. At least until school starts next week. ;)

So, a few weeks ago, we were so blessed to go on a cruise to Alaska with my family. The whole group included Brent and I, Mom, Dad, Nick, Steven, and both sets of grandparents. I had a friend point out that I am in a lucky place in life right now, where I am able to spend quality time with my husband, immediate family, and grandparents. What a blessing! There will be lots of pictures here, simply because it's a trip with stories that I don't want to forget. This is just a small glimpse of the incredible trip we had!

We flew to Seattle, Washington, where we had an evening and morning to spend in Seattle before the ship left.
Saturday night we walked to the Space Needle

Sunday morning we walked to the Seattle Public Market. It's a huuuuuge local market with so much fresh food! Such a cool place! We also had the most delicious fresh fruit smoothies ever while we were there.
Seattle was such a neat town. I read on this list that Seattle is America's most active city. With all the hills you have to walk up and down, I can see why! Sadly, Tulsa, OK City, and Baltimore are all on the top 100 least active cities... not so good!

We set sail to Alaska on the Norwegian Pearl
 I've said this many times when people have asked how the cruise was, and it was just beautiful. There is no way that words or pictures can do justice to the vast, beautiful, and untouched landscape of Alaska and the coast of Canada along which we sailed. Definitely reminded of God's workmanship! Again, I have to say that my pictures just don't do it justice.

We saw lots of waterfalls along the coast!
 Our first stop was in Juneau, AK. I found out that it is only accessible by water or air. There are no roads leading into Juneau because of the surrounding, harsh (though gorgeous) landscape. While there, we toured a salmon hatchery, hiked to Mendenhall Glacier and a waterfall, and enjoyed an absolutely delicious, fresh Alaskan salmon bake, complete with a friendly bear!

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, AK
The gorgeous waterfall next to the glacier
It was chilly!
There were even icebergs floating near the glacier! And they were all an amazing turquoise blue since they came from the glacier (it has something to do with the crystalline structure, I think).
This friendly bear cub is apparently a regular at the salmon bakes. He was after the marshmallows!
Toasting marshmallows . . . yum!
I wish I had gotten a picture of the whole family, but Brent did catch part of us while we were sipping hot chocolate! 
Grandpa also found a new friend in this giant Alaskan husky. This picture is priceless. :)
 After we left Juneau, our next stop was in Scagway, AK. It was such a tiny little town, but really cute. While we were there, my brothers did a zipline while the rest of us got a tour of the town, a train ride along the Yukon trail into Canada, ate some more yummy salmon, and got to pan for gold in "Liarsville, AK." It was quite a day!

We saw the most amazing scenery along this train ride, I can't even describe it! Alaska is gorgeous.
Almost surreal.
Brent made a friend in Liarsville. :)
After our stop in Scagway, we sailed through Glacier Bay National Park, which is in Alaska. It was so crazy to wake up that morning, go out on the deck of the ship, and see icebergs and glaciers. It was so cold we could see our breath! It was incredible to see scenery that is just so different from anything I've ever seen before.
Yep, that's us in front of glacier. Crazy!
Did I mention that it was super cold?
I love this photo. It shows how eerily vast, yet peaceful the landscape was. It was breathtaking.
After Glacier Bay, we headed South to Ketchikan, AK. Nick, Steven, and myself went kayaking while the other folks went on a tour. Unfortunately, Nick got put in a separate group from us while kayaking, so we don't have pictures together. Also, we didn't have the camera out on the water with us because I was afraid I would drop it in the water! I wish I would have had it though. While we were out on the water, there were humpback whales so close to us in the water! There were also eagles, seals, and lots of pretty scenery. What an amazing experience! I'll also show you some neat photos Brent got while on the tour!
I had to steer, since I was in the back. Steven accused me of not paddling though, since he couldn't see me behind him. But I would never do such a thing! ;)
 Here are a few photos that Brent took! I'm jealous they saw so many eagles!
Native meeting house with totem poles
This is a lighthouse. I love how the sky looks in this picture.
Another incredible picture that Brent took. The sky and clouds look simply amazing behind the mountain.
Apparently, Sasquatch makes his home in Ketchikan, AK. Who knew?
One of our favorite pastimes while on the ship was playing Bingo. While we didn't win anything, we still had a fun time! Mom almoooooost won the jackpot on the last day!
Ladies lookin' good! :)
We continued to head south to our last stop of the trip, which was Victoria, British Columbia, in Canada. It was a beautiful city. We didn't have a lot of time so we just walked along the streets admiring everything. 
This is a beautiful, old hotel, called The Empress.
This was so funny. Brent got pulled into a street show! He was throwing pins and juggling right along with this guy! The crowd loved it. In return for his participation, the man gave Brent a lottery ticket. Unfortunately, we are not millionaires. It was fun, though!
I love this photo of the capital building. Doesn't it look almost whimsical with the carriage and lights?
 And that was the last of our cruise stops. The next day, we arrived back in Seattle where we all parted ways and headed back to our neck of the country. Brent and I traveled completely across the country and back! What a memorable trip. :)

If you ever get the chance to go to Alaska, go.


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