Alaska is one of my favorite places in the world. The air is so clean, the sky is so blue, and the mountains are pristine!
I have had the honor of lecturing three separate weeks on cruise ships in the past. At UCM I taught a class entitled “Alaska History and Myth” and took students on a cruise to Alaska in 2013. Tom and I first discovered Alaska by renting a Class C Motorhome and touring the state. On that vacation we took our rented RV on a ferry across Prince William Sound, sailed on a Pirate Ship to a glacier, and flew over Denali to the north pole, well it was called “The Artic Circle.” We did this again years later after our first cruise to Alaska, so we know the territory well.
Now this summer I will be lecturing for two weeks on a Royal Caribbean ship as we go north from Vancouver to Seward and back again! In the upcoming blogs I will post hightlights of the Power Points that I have developed. This is not a classroom, so don’t worry, you won’t be bogged down with the details.
The second town we visit on the cruise is Juneau, the capital of Alaska. You can’t drive to the town because no roads lead to it. You have to fly or take a boat. We will also visit Skagway, Ketchikan, Seward, and more. We will keep you posted!
Today you won’t find Sarah Palin in Juneau but you will find the Mendenhall Glacier, the Red Dog Inn, and burned out mines that produced billions (maybe trillions) of dollars of gold. Most of the mines flooded after one of the miners dug too deep into the ground and hit the sea below. It flooded all of the mines and left a gaping hole in the middle of town.
The land was originally owned by First Nations Tlingits, but they were pushed out of the way by the flood of miners looking for gold. Tlingits (pronounced Klingits) still have a presence in the area and the bus drivers will let you know that they are here!
The city is lovely with lots of shopping. In fact the first time I visited this city, I could not believe all of the items that were for sale. Most of them were decorative or based in local art. Today you can take a tram over the city to view your ship and downtown.
The icing on the cake is Mendenhall Glacier. Mendenhall is receding and so has produced a gorgeous lake and waterfall. It is one hundred feet above ground (that is 10 stories) now and twelve miles long. Inside are a number of ice caves and evidence of trees that are 2500 years old. It is quite a sight to see! And if you are really lucky, you will see bears chasing after salmon in the icy waters.
Below is an ice cave. You could live in one of those things!
After a visit to Mendenhall, people usually come back to town and visit the Russian Orthodox Church at the top of the hill. It is about as big as a tiny house these days. Orthodox believers stood during services and still do. You will find Orthodox churches dotted all over Alaska. They are like rare finds in an antique store, so beautiful and ornate.
I was really lucky to photograph this bear walking right below our walkway at Mendenhall. Later he caught a fish and we could hear him eating it, right below us!
When Tom and I visit Juneau (twice) on our two week trip this August, we hope to explore some of the old mines. Believe it or not, retirement is challenging and we are very busy. I hope to post at least one more blog before we leave because I will not have access to the internet on the ship. It costs too much!
Occasionally Tom will get a burr in his saddle and want to post something. This website is really Motoring with Tom and Marla but Tom wanted me to keep my name on it.
As always, this post is copyrighted by Marla J. Selvidge!