Monday, January 2, 2017

Alaska - Days 3 & 4

Day three was spent chugging along at sea. 

For the cruisin' crowd, it was a day for shipboard activities.   Our group was the Stich -n- Sail gathering from Debbie McComber's fandom.  My sister worked for her at her shop in Port Orchard, and she was one of the instructors for classes.  I am not a knitter (I've knitted, but it's not my thing), but we did drop in on her "how to cast on" class.

I don't have many photos from that day.  This piece of cake from dinner that night was the most exciting photo I took for this day.

And so we find ourselves on Day 4.  It was a lovely morning...

and then we entered a fog bank...

which made for a nifty-looking morning sun!

As the fog cleared, we found ourselves surrounded by beautiful mountains.  Islands, I presume, although some of them could've been mainland.

The captain kept us informed of all wildlife sightings, like these whales.  The dark spot just left of center is a fluke as the whale dove, and up and to the left of that is a spray from a whale spouting.

This was the largest grouping of whales we would see on this trip.

 This one jumped right next to the ship, but of course, by the time I got my camera ready for it, the ship had moved quite far past it.  Thank goodness for zoom lenses and photo zoom and crop!

A daily treat was coming back to our room to see what fun animal had been made from the towels for us.

Finally - a day on land ahead of us as we pulled in to Juneau.

Juneau is the capitol city of Alaska.  Small by comparison to other state capitols...and only accessible by water (or air).

My land excursion was a trip to the Mendenhall Glacier - wanted to see it before it completely melts away.  Here is our first glimpse of it from the bus.

For someone who works in parks and interpretation, I have been to very few national parks.  

Probably more impressive to me than the actual glaciers we saw this trip were the floating chunks of ice that had previously broken off.  Amazing shapes and colors.

Once at the park, we had just enough time to take the walk down to the glacier...or near it, at least.

Those who did not want to walk the trail could visit the visitor center, which also had a spectacular view of the glacier.

I, of course, was very interested in the plants along the way.  Many were old friends from the Adirondacks

like this pink pyrola!

Lupines were also familiar.
Many, however, I did not know.  And just try finding a flower field guide!  I had no luck.  I guess there aren't too many tourists interested in botany.  :(

Evidence of the glacier is written in the rocks.  No surprise there.

I tried to upload the video I took down at the glacier and the waterfall, but it is apparently too big for the blog.  So, you will have to do with still photos instead.  Not the same, I know.

 This is the view from the visitor center:

On the way back to the ship, our guide pointed out the hanging glacier in the saddle between these peaks - one of the few hanging glaciers left, according to him.

 And so Day 4 drew to a close back on ship.

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