My last Alaska post makes me melancholy. It was so great to share and relive this trip through this blog!
I found, after all the destination images and text, there was a large cache of images that were just taken “at sea” while our ship cut through the multicolored waters – in and out of mist and fog and sunshine. We traveled often during the crazy long daylight hours and the sunsets every evening were forever imprinted in our hearts. Below are some of the amazing images we captured, although it should be noted that photos can never really capture the magic of the visions we were treated to.
First are photos of the incredible mountainous islands. There is much deforestation taking place, however all trees that are removed are replaced with new seedings giving the two very different shades of green. The trees that are being cut down look as though they are over 100′ tall with only about 20′ of branches on the top. The forests are so thick that nothing grows under the canopy. Logs are piled up and then shipped on the water by tugboats.
There were many inlets along the way and I wish I had a small boat to check them all out! Although it was clear and sunny, I could not get over the atmosphere magic that created some of the most amazing images.
I captured some of the most interesting images that were just located in the water…the color of the sky reflecting in it and the movement from our ship making such amazing patterns.
And then there are the sunsets…..and we actually saw the majestic purple mountains sung about in America the Beautiful!
Each evening, during what seemed like a magic hour, the sunlight would be strong enough to push through the clouds. These rays of light reminded me of what I imagine the reactions were when Nikola Tesla first lit up the Chicago sky during the World’s Columbia Exposition in 1893. You’ll see what I mean…
We were also treated to the occasional visit from water friends! We saw whales and dolphins!
But I think my favorite night, sitting watching the captivating sunsets, was our last evening at sea. The outdoor movie theater on the ship (which we never made it to because nighttime was quite chilly and breezy) was showing a Pavarotti concert. We could not see the screen from our balcony, but we could hear that amazing voice! Pavarotti playing in the background, the ocean breezes on our face, the sun just hovering over the horizon with boats heading home for the night, and lastly a full moon coming up in the other direction made for the most sublime evening. Yep…Alaska was my Eden.
Thank you for coming along on my spiritual journey. It was the trip of a lifetime and I was so grateful to spend the time with my parents and husband. I appreciate their willingness to stop and wait as I snapped photos. They were so patient with me. I learned so much about photography and I have a much better understanding for their passion to capture what their eyes see. I also understand their ambitious yearning to share their intimate secret moments with the world. There is an intimacy between the camera and the photographer and I hope that you all share in that solitude moment when you have viewed these images. If you ever get the chance to go to Alaska…I hope that you will do so. It is truly magical and I hope to get back there again!
We excitedly welcomed back the sunshine and warm temperatures as we headed into Ketchikan! Our ship’s balcony faced out into the waters rather than the port side and it was the way more entertaining option. The first thing I heard when I woke up was the humming and roaring of airplane engines. I jumped out of bed, grabbed my camera, and ran onto the balcony. To my left were ten float planes lined up to land right at my feet in the water with various fishing boats headed towards the planes in the water.
How fun these were to watch! Growing up near the insane O’Hare Airport in Chicago has made me highly aware of how busy the skies can be; however O’Hare has nothing on the airplane activity in Ketchikan! Since I didn’t see a control tower anywhere, I concluded that these pilots have a great communication system and respect for each other to orchestrate their takeoffs and landings. I sat there and just watched the water traffic for hours before it was time to check out the town!
One of the main attractions in Ketchikan is Creek Street. It’s not only the shopping district, but it used to be the red light district featuring Dolly’s where good times were guaranteed.
“I realized I could make a lot more money from the attentions of men than I could waiting tables.” – Dolly Arthur
Ketchikan also has amazing art studios and galleries! The streets are lined with Alaskan heritage attractions and a bustling port!
I even got Dad to sit with a couple of friends he made while walking around the shops near the pier.
I think when I come back to Alaska it will be a longer trip because I would like to spend more time here enjoying the blue waters and sunshine!
Ketchikan was our last port to visit. The remainder of our trip would be wandering through islands and bays as we make our way to Vancouver!
When we arrived in Juneau, we were continuing on our misty cloudy days. It was damp and cool but really not uncomfortable at all. Juneau…you can only get into and out of Juneau by boat or plane. Who knew?? When we first pulled in I could not believe how many boats there were. After learning about the only way in and out, it makes perfect sense!
We were originally planning to take a helicopter to Mendenhall Glacier on this day, but the fog was way too low for the ‘copters to fly so we wound up taking a bus to the glacier but we would no longer be able to stand on it. Sigh. First, we trammed out way up to Mt. Roberts!
We measured our wing spans, saw eagles, watched a totem be carved, and learned about the signs that are carved in the trees around the area. The particular native sign on the tree below asks viewers to stop and find the reason why this place is so special.
After Mt. Roberts we boarded a bus to head to Mendenhall! This was a must-see stop! Juneau is the governmental capital of Alaska although there is rumors amongst the locals that they may transfer this back to Anchorage. There is fear by the people of Juneau because it may then ruin the city of Juneau if most of their population leaves town.
Mendenhall Glacier is currently retreating and it was about 60 degrees when we were there. It was such a beautiful place!
This post may require grabbing a cup of coffee. There will be a lot of images and each one is worthy of a significant amount of your time. This place is beyond words and each word I type shows me how insignificant language is for this hallowed place. If I had seen this place as a child, I would be working there as a Ranger protecting it with a ferocious passion. Here we go…
Towards the end of this year I will turn 50. Therefore it’s of no surprise that I have been longing for a spiritual adventure. With family in the southwest, I had always imagined it would come somewhere on a mountain hike there or perhaps New Mexico via my artwork. Never in my life had I imagined it would take place in Alaska! Alaska….really….Alaska! I cannot recall the last time I was so “in” the moment before Glacier Bay National Park. This time I was filled with electricity. I had a narrative playing on the television in our cabin and I was hopping in and out of the balcony door like a small child jumping on the stairway gate on Christmas morning. I could not sit still! At breakfast I was anxious and eager to get back to the balcony and when looking outside it looked the mists of Avalon and the water was eerily still as it swished along our bow.
Here is the imagery that made me run back to my balcony! Something really great was coming into our view….
As we entered the park, we were treated by otters!
As we moved into the park we were treated to the vision of a sea of ice….and waterfalls….and interesting inlets. Even what looked like a very small sailboat. Imagine what an adventure THAT would be!
Something interesting I learned during this adventure was the way the Rangers take care of the park. In order for our ship to enter into Glacier Bay National Park, we had to allow park security personnel to board our ship to assure them we were ready. In order to be “ready” the ship had to stow away all disposable products. All paper napkins, straws, coffee stirrers, tissues…anything that could possibly be blown into the water area had to be put out of sight. The personnel also stayed aboard our ship until we were leaving the park and then they would transfer back on to their own boats in the water. Our ship was also guided by security boats creating invisible ropes in which we had to stay. As the ship turned into the bay, my eyes and my heart synced together in the most magical of moments. Enjoy the images….
Just when I thought it could not get any better….it did! We were idling alongside this huge glacier and everything was so very quiet. There were no voices…no motor sounds…no birds or bugs…just peace. Then out of the blue we heard a loud thunderous CRACK and I was scanning the glacier with my camera lens…it was calving!!!
As the ship continued on its journey through the park…and I was speechless and not wanting time to move forward for one moment…I just wanted to stay in this moment)…we came around to this amazing glacial cave.
Then I realized how difficult it was to show the scale of this cave…good thing there was a boat nearby!
As we left Glacier Bay National Park, we were treated to more ice in the water. I was so taken aback by these images and felt compelled to capture their shapes along with the various shades the water kept turning in the Park. The water in Alaska is so interesting. The water was constantly changing from deep blues to Caribbean aqua to minty greens to almost brown.
But all there was to see was not necessarily water. As excited as I was to see glaciers, I was also very aware of their fragility and the sadness I feel when I think they are something that may eventually leave. I believe nothing depicts the violence of the creation and extinction of this area as some of the rocks that were jutting out of the water. These images show the scarring that occurred in the development of this place.
On our way out of the park, we were again greeted by the wildlife that are so lucky to call this home!
I really did not want to leave this place! Although I know we have wonderful things planned for our stops in Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan…I could have stayed here for a lifetime.