Thursday, May 9, 2013

Back from Alaska...

Ketchikan,  Alaska

Yes, I'm back!  And it was awesome...  beautiful scenery, clean air, true wilderness!  I loved it.  And yes, it was COLD... and yes, I got a bit SEASICK one morning... but was it worth it? Definitely YES.

I want to gather my thoughts and go through my journal before I begin to write about it. And I have to get my pictures from my friend's son who downloaded my camera 3 times because the card only held about 300 pics. He is going to put them all on a flash drive for me. This one I still had on my last batch which was taken on Sunday in Ketchikan, Alaska... which was our last Alaskan stop.

And yes, my camera worked fine on the trip.  Don't know what was the problem the day before. And my Zoom lens got it's first real workout... on Glacial Bay.

And yes, we took the train in Skagway to White Pass.  Because we were the first cruise ship of the season there was still a lot of snow on the mountains. They cancelled the morning train, but we were scheduled for the 12:45 one which left on schedule.  The views were fantastic. We passed the old gold miners trails, cemeteries, etc.

We did hit one snag... we crossed a tall trestle bridge and entered a snow covered mountain, and eventually got to White Pass (which is a little over the Canadian border). There the train stopped for about 30 mins for people to take photos, etc.  You were allowed to go outside between the railroad cars and take pics, but not get off the train. Well... 30 mins passed, then 45... and we didn't start back down. (You go up and down the same route... the seats reverse).  Finally the Brakeman came into our car and explained that there were "2 places where snow had fallen from the mountain top and covered the tracks behind us (didn't use the word "avalanche" - smart, yes?.

So we had to wait until the work train got those spots cleared. Must have happened right after we passed into the tunnel... because when we did get going again the areas where you could see out your window straight down the mountain now had 6 feet of snow on each side where the work train had cleared it.  Exciting, yes?  So... we were scheduled to be back for 3:30.  Didn't get back down the mountain until almost 5:30 and some of the shops (where my friend had merchandise held) were already closing for the day.  And we had to be back on the ship by 7.  So... it was a bit tight, but we made it. And were even able to watch the "run of shame".... which is what they call the last minute run where people are late getting back.  It's kind of funny, really.  The crew and the passengers aboard stand on the deck or on their balconies and heckle the late runners... shouting, "Come on... the ship is waiting on you!"  But it's all done in fun.

And even though it was a bit scary, it was an adventure. People on board our car were kidding around by saying, "Ok, I have 2 candy bars...." or "only one bottle of water per person... we have to ration" (there was a box of bottled water in the car for the passengers). One person even said, "OMG, Carnival has done it again.  I can see the headlines Carnival passengers caught in avalanche on White Pass Route."

All in all, it was a wonderful trip and over the next week or so, I will try to post more pictures... and catch up on reading everyone's blogs from the last 2 weeks!

Our train going into the mountain right before "snow fell to cover the tracks"...

Had to make this picture large so you could see the train.


  1. Oh, how I would love any kind of trip to see Alaska. Excitement comes through in your post. I can't wait to see more pictures.

    1. Olga, I never thought much about Alaska one way or the other... but now, yes, go if you get the chance.

  2. OMC, I'm so glad we didn't do the train. LOL. I'd have freaked on the trestle, no question. White-knuckled it. :-)

    Welcome back!!! I can't believe you're home already, it really just feels like you left. Wow. So glad you had a fantastic time!

    1. Kim, I'll admit it was a tiny bit scary, but the Brakeman told us that it had happened once before when he was on the train and they had to get someone to come up the mountain and take the passengers off into Canada... and then back into Skagway.

  3. Wow! What an adventure! I look forward to hearing lots more about it, Rian. What a cool thing to do. Oh, and more than 300 photos? Gasp! :-)

    1. Yes, it was definitely an adventure... and one I would take again.

  4. Welcome home, Rian. Glad you had such a great time and am looking forward to your posts and photos. :-)

  5. Welcome home and Happy mother's day.
    Your trip sounds fantastic, I'm looking forward to photo's.
    That shot of the train going into the tunnel is a beaut.


  6. So pleased you are home safe and sound you are so glad you went in the end. I am so looking forward to reading about it and seeing the photos ...btw that first shot is absolutely stunning. xx


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