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North to Alaska - Pt. 2

Emerald Lake, Yukon Territory

Pomeranians in saddlebags.

Our next destination was Skagway, and from there, Yukon Territory. We decided to go on a horseback ride to see more of this beautiful land.

We climbed over amazing ridgetops, all with spectacular views.

Views like this!

We are such tourists!

Mbala and I in an obligatory photo.

This bear was actually massive!

We saw quite a few bears on our trip - including one large grizzly wandering the shore when we went whalewatching later in the trip. It was my first time seeing wild bears!

Not sure I'd want to ride those rails!

Even the glass detailing on the power lines was amazing to see.

Old Yukon rails.

Melting snowlines.

Moos block!

Aaand, back to Alaska again!

The views from the ship were really beautiful all the time, it was nice to sit on the decks and watch the water go by. I liked that the ship was pretty much a mobile hotel - we were off the boat most all day and came back for dinner and to sleep then woke up in a new place.

The ship itself was really posh, with a casino, multiple fancy restaurants and this - a large theatre.

Though, ships like this are more interesting to look at!

There were eagles *everywhere*. Like sparrows. It was funny to see the passengers - in the beginning everyone was 'oooooh! ! It's an eagle!' - then progressively it was more of a grunt and 'nother eagle'. We saw more eagles than any other type of bird there -with ravens being a close second.

Again with the eagles. I've never seen so many in one place - we actually got to watch them fishing on the ocean, which was awesome! And groups of them interacting.

We then went to Icy Strait Point and walked to the nearby town of Hoonah. We met some amazing people there, locals who lived sustainably by hunting caribou and salmon, guiding people to see bears during the tourist season. It was really neat!

We went whalewatching on a small boat with some locals – Roman was fascinated by the equipment.

We saw lots of porpoises, and then found a group of three humpback whales. We followed them, and watched them surface to breathe and then dive down again. It was really surreal!

The following day we went kayaking in Orca bay. There were so many neat starfish and crabs in the shallow inlets and tons of interesting jellyfish. We ended up in pretty angry waters outside of the inlets on the ocean which was also amazing to experience. I love kayaking!
We were able to kayak up close to a pair of eagles nesting on a small island.

After kayaking we chartered a flight on a little floatplane. It landed to pick us up right off our boat.

The tiny plane was so amazing!

I got to 'co-pilot'. :) I have never flown in a plane where we had windows open while flying - crazy!

We flew over the Misty Fjords national park and had amazing, clear weather - apparently a rarity there.

Flying in between towering cliffs was really incredible.

(This is not one of my photos, but is a natural rock island we flew around that was really a spectacular highlight so I wanted to share it

Huge Alaskan ravens in Ketchikan.

This painting is the essence of Alaska. It is what Alaska was like all the time.

All in all it was an incredible trip. I was a bit dubious about the cruise itself before we went (we usually like to travel very simply and flexibly) - but it was a great experience. Because of the difficulty of getting around the coast of Alaska (it would be next to impossible by car) it was a great way to see a lot of the state. I know I'll never be the sort of person to want to sit on a boat around the Caribbean but I would consider doing a cruise again!
The one thing I brought back from Alaska was an ulu knife - with a caribou antler handle, something I've always wanted to have. It's great for cutting up onions!
I think the most amusing thing about the trip was that almost to a person, when we said we were from Minnesota, reacted with 'Ooh, that's that cold state!' - native Alaskans saying that. True, the coast, where most people live is much more temperate than we are here - I am sure the people in Fairbanks wouldn't make that claim (though we do get to -40/-50 with some regularity and parts of MN can get down to -80 before windchill!) - it made me laugh.
I would really like to return sometime, I was invited to come spend some time doing an internship at the musk ox farm and volunteering in their busy season. I think this should be combined with a roadtrip up to Denali, I do. :)


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 26th, 2012 12:36 am (UTC)
Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing. :)
Jan. 26th, 2012 03:56 am (UTC)
Your photo adventures always make me grin huge. Absolutely stunning. Thanks for sharing. :D
Jan. 26th, 2012 04:14 am (UTC)
When we said we were from Canada, we got a different response from the Alaskans than we usually do from Americans.

Normally, when we say we're from Canada, the response is, "Oh, cool." The Alaskans wanted to know what part of Canada we were from, which tells me they actually knew a bit about the geography of the country (rather than just thinking of it as the States' hat.) :)
Jan. 26th, 2012 05:59 pm (UTC)
That makes sense! It always kind of boggles my mind how little we ever hear about Canada. I live only a few hours from the border but still never hear anything about what's going on as if it didn't exist!
Jan. 26th, 2012 06:21 am (UTC)
Those fly-by shots are amazing! Everything looks so beautiful there. ; A;

Really enjoyed all the photos. c:
Jan. 26th, 2012 05:54 pm (UTC)
This looks amazing! Definitely going to be asking you about all the cool things if/when I make it to Alaska.

Also, I hope I see a bear whale battle :O
Jan. 26th, 2012 05:58 pm (UTC)
I wish you guys could have come! We have to cruise together in the future. :) The bears, they also fly with lasers emitting from their eyes. It's the real reason most people don't want to move to AK.
Jan. 26th, 2012 08:34 pm (UTC)
Hell to the yes :D You guys are so much fun to hang out with, I really look forward to taking a trip with you guys someday. We have this on our "definitely will happen at some point" list. Just gotta get jobs XD
Jan. 26th, 2012 07:46 pm (UTC)
Amazingly amazing! Must bug you for stories next we meet! ^,,^
Jan. 27th, 2012 05:20 am (UTC)
Freaking amazing photos Fox! The one at the end made me laugh!

Alaska is somewhere I really really want to go before I die. It's on my bucket list +1. Sadly due to my well... financial hell for not having a stable income, I really doubt it will be any time soon.

I'd so go crazy for photography there. And I'd hire a guide to take me fly fishing for Salmon. Even an Alaskan cruise.

Looks like you guys had an awesome time!
Jan. 27th, 2012 03:34 pm (UTC)
What an amazing adventure. I'm glad you got to experience it! I'm blown away by the photos too. It must have been so surreal to see everything with your own eyes...as good as the photos are, I'm sure it doesn't do it justice.
Jan. 29th, 2012 03:25 am (UTC)
What a remarkable experience! I continue to be astounded by your pictures. Eminently beautiful. :)
Jan. 29th, 2012 03:58 pm (UTC)
Very beautiful! I've been wanting to go to Alaska since I was a kid.
Jan. 29th, 2012 04:37 pm (UTC)
Oh, didn't you make an JL post a long time ago about going to a Native American spirit name ceremony?
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )