Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Ron was pretty happy as we passed the home of Dave Monson whose wife, Susan Butcher, was a four-time winner of the Iditarod. Sadly Susan passed away a few years ago but their daughters are now mushing. As we passed their home along the river, we stopped to watch the dogs give a display of mushing. They are just crazy to pull. At the village further down the river, we had the opportunity to meet half a dozen of the dogs. So guess where we spent all our time!
Monday, July 25, 2011
The elk are being looked after just now at a conservation centre where abandoned or injured animals are cared for. The centre is very rustic and most of the animals can't even be seen by us because the centre realy keeps the setting natural for them. There are no buildings or feeding areas that we see. There's just a fence to keep us away from them.
|Taken at conservation centre.|
|Taken from train.|
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Kalvin actually took a video of this for me with sound effects of the ice breaking away. I'll have to share that with you in another format.
We had a couple of these guys come to visit us today. I guess they were hitching a ride while we were crusing.
Until next time...
The sidewalks are all wooden as are most of the buildings in the downtown area. The "ladies" at the bordello were hanging out the windows soliciting business as in days of old. Others were in period costume as well.
At least the shops of the local artisans outnumbered the jewelry stores here!
We're on a catamaran on our way to Haines, a town of about 800. Remember the cost of milk in Juneau? Well, here it is $12 a gallon! The population of all of these cities and towns we're visiting drops dramatically once the cruise ships stop coming in. The last ship to dock this year will be on September 24. Then only the locals, which are primarily Indians, remain.
In Haines we went river rafting on the Chilkat River through a bald eagle reserve. There were four guides and since one of them was named Sunny, we had to make sure we got on his raft. Good thing, we picked the best guide as far as keeping the raft going. The water is so shallow in areas that we sometimes have to "bounce" to get the raft moving along. But Sunny did a great job navigating.
One of many bald eagles that we met along the way. I think his name was Henry.
They look so serious, don't they!
Until next time...
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
My photos weren't that great. So I purchased a book that has been put together by some locals. All the pictures have been taken in the area. It was just phenomenal to see these whales jumping out of the water. They were having a "whale" of a time!
Juneau is the capital of Alaska. Similar to Ketchikan, it rains approximately 230 days a year. Everything is very lush and green. Winters are fairly moderate. Again, as they are landlocked everything has to be barged in. A gallon of milk runs $5.50.
Their federal building has been included on the list of ugly U.S. capital state buildings four times! A local artist was commissioned to create something for the front of the building. Florida apparently commissioned the same artist at the same time. Well, you can guess, the artist mixed up the shipment and each state received the other's work. Florida liked the piece intended for Alaska so much that they ended up keeping it. So the Florida state capital has a wonderful statue of a couple of eagles. Alaska, on the other hand, has a pelican! Guess what? There are no pelicans native to Alaska except this one.
These two photos were taken at Mendenhall Glacier. I'm sure these photos don't really do justice. However, the pictures in our minds will have to do.
Again, we were fortunate as the rain held off pretty much until almost the end of our adventure today.
Until next time...
Monday, July 18, 2011
This is one of many totem poles that we were introduced to today. Apparently this guy honours the story that the Indians told their children about thunder and lightning and where they come from.
Ketchikan is the 4th largest city in Alaska - 57 miles of paved roads, 4 street lights in the city. Absolutely everything is barged in as this is one of 1800 islands. Fresh produce is extremely expensive and very difficult for the locals to obtain.
These photos are taken at Totem Bight Park. It rains here in Ketchikan 270 days a year. They get in excess of 13 feet of rain. We lucked in as it didn't start to rain until after we had returned to the ship.
The scenery is breathtaking. It's very mountainous. So different from looking at concrete everywhere.
I see the temperature in Toronto today hit 32C. Here it was about 62F.
Many houses are built on sheer rock on the side of the hills. Wooden steps lead up to all the homes. Imagine having a new stove delivered or even just bringing a baby stroller up and down these stairs. You're talking easily 50+ stairs up to these homes.
There's a Wal-Mart in town (of course) which is the third smallest of the chain. Our guide indicated that although there are mixed feelings about Wal-Mart in the continental U.S., here the locals love it. When it opened back in 2000, people came from miles and miles. Children took the day off school to come to see Wal-Mart. The shelves were totally emptied in the grand opening and it took two weeks for Wal-Mart to restock.
We're cruising now, heading off to Juneau. Until next time...
Friday, July 15, 2011
The two otter appear to be holding "paws" and were just floating all around the tank, doing the backswim.
They have a great 4D film experience here as long as you don't mind getting a little wet.
Although rain was predicted, as we all know, any of us could be weather people. Haven't seen any yet.