Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Vacation

July was pretty busy with fun events.  The month ended with a week long cruise to Alaska with family.  I heard from a lot of active people that they had a lot of doubts about a cruise but they all admitted to curiosity.  This was my second cruise to Alaska and I really enjoyed it!

Now, as an active person, I made some pretty good choices about the timing of this cruise.  We were coordinating six people's schedules but were eventually able to pick the first week of august.  This was perfect from my point of view.  I'd be post-Ragnar and rather in-between events.  There'd be no need to stress about trying to get a lot of running miles in while on the boat.  I'd still run, of course, but it could be more of a run when you feel like it and for however long which would be perfect one week post Ragnar.

And it was great!  It's rather a different mentality sort of a vacation.  Internet and phone service is available but for a high price.  So cut that right out.  I brought a lot of books loaded onto my nook and picked a few different knitting projects in case I got bored with what I was working on.  I planned to take in some of the events on the boat, hang out with family, take in the sights and nap.

We'd deliberately picked this cruise line because it went to Glacier Bay, Skagway and started/ended in Seattle.  good choice overall.  Logistics were extremely easy boarding the boat at Pier 91.  We had one complete day cruising north and it was a good time to figure out the layout of the boat.  The cruise ships can be big and overwhelming and the best way to deal with that is to just explore.  the staff was unfailingly friendly and helpful.  I enjoyed quite a few of the talks they had on board like National Park Rangers in Glacier Bay, Libby Riddles and random things like a galley tour.  Mostly though, it was pleasant just to sit and hang out. 

I was less interested in the little towns the boats stop in except I decided I'd try to get in a trail run in port at least in Juneau and maybe Skagway.  That was a great decision!  I've been to Juneau before on a cruise and couldn't remember a thing about it.  This time, I found a good looking and easy to find trail, talked K into joining me and off we went.  It was raining pretty hard but it wasn't cold.  The town by where the cruise ships dock is full of little touristy shops but quickly climbs towards the steep hills.  Soon we were beyond the tourist boundaries and it was gorgeous!   It was an easy trail to follow and to run.  One concern was that part of the section of the trail (seen in the above picture) had collapsed!  We'd not seen this but heard it from a couple who were hiking back down.  Yikes!  We went quickly through this area.  The other concern?  Bears.  Juneau can have a lot of them evidently and we saw evidence of the bears on the trail but managed to avoid seeing one. 

Skagway was the next little town.  We'd booked a train ride on the White Pass & Yukon Railway but had the whole day in port.  I'd heard from a outdoorsman on the cruise ship about trails in skagway and even gotten a map.  Lower Dewey Lake and uppper Dewey Lake trails would be less running but promised a very good workout and some nice views of the town.  These trails did not disappoint in either regard.  Just a half mile away from our dock, the trail went straight up.  Lower Dewey Lake was a very pretty tranquil area.  K continued on around the lake.  I wanted the harder trail (in prep for an event next month) up to Upper Dewey Lake.  Round trip the run would be six miles but since I knew it was very steep, i still didn't think I'd make it to the second lake.  And I did not.  I turned around at an agreed upon time.  It was a very enjoyable time though and I'm glad I got out there.  The train was just as spectacular although the diesel fumes were pretty bad on the descent!  Blargh. 

Glacier Bay was my goal for this trip and it did not disappoint.  The weather was perfect.  Cloudy but still with the clouds mostly lifted.  We had excellent viewing conditions for Marjorie, Lamplugh and John Hopkins Glacier.  Really, they were spectacular.  I still get chills thinking of the huge chunk of ice which calved off of Marjorie.  The sound of calving is amazing.  We also watched for whales as we were leaving Glacier Bay and saw quite a bit of activity including a humpback breaching. 

After a week, I was ready to get off the boat but I still rather miss the leisure and relaxed mentality.  It was a lovely experience visiting with family for the week and not having any responsibilities.  I really miss my nap schedule! 

1 comment:

Dusty said...

What a great vacation! More pictures?? Please???