Malahat, British Columbia – June 25 – 28, 2018

Since Monday my brother and his wife, and my sisters and their husbands, and Duke and I have been sharing a beautiful rental house overlooking the water north of Victoria, British Columbia. During the day we have each done our own things and in between we have had lots of time to talk and enjoy each others Company.

Wednesday four of us went to Butchart Gardens.

Tuesday Duke and I hiked around Thetis Lake.

Thursday we hiked to the Goldstream Canyon Trestle.

Juneau to Bellingham to Abbotsford, British Columbia

Saturday morning we caught a 7:50 am plane out of Juneau. It stopped in Ketchikan on the way to Seattle. Unfortunately as we were getting ready to take off one of the engines had a problem. The mechanic had to come over to the airport on the ferry. It took four hours but they fixed the engine and we finally made it to Seattle. Unfortunately we missed our connection to Bellingham. We were rebooked for an 11:40 pm plane. The good thing was that our eight hour layover allowed us to visit with our niece Mary who works for Alaska Airlines in Seattle.

Our flight to Bellingham was delayed about thirty minutes when they had a problem with the cabin noise cancelling system. We finally made it to Bellingham, retrieved our car, and left Bellingham at 1 am. The border crossing people seemed a bit perplexed about why we were crossing the border at 2 am but eventually they let us into Canada. We were in bed at our hotel by 3 am.

Juneau – Thursday June 21, 2018

Duke and I make it a habit to visit and tour State capitals whenever we get the chance. We have a spreadsheet at home to keep track but I think that together we have been to about 26. Today we enjoyed the self guided tour of the Alaska State Capital.

Several framed old newspaper front pages were hanging on the table walls. I thoroughly enjoyed perusing them and in some cases remembering where I was when the event happened.

I also liked the earrings framed with the picture of former State Senator Bettye Fahrenkamp. She wore them during Senate floor sessions. In one ear and out the other!

After exploring the Capital we went to the Juneau-Douglas City Museum. It is a small museum but it had a lot of interesting information about the history of fishing, mining, and politics in the Juneau area. I had a lot of fun with the exhibits.

Finally we browsed the stores and walked up and down the boardwalk beside the three gigantic cruise ships that were in Juneau for the day.

By the time we finished dinner two of the ships had departed. A lady in one of the shops told me they have cruise ships in port every day for five months.

Glacier Bay National Park to Juneau

This morning we took it easy and enjoyed a short hike. Then we took the shuttle bus from the lodge to the ferry terminal in Gustavus. On our way we saw a bear and a moose!

Today was a calm sunny warm day so the four and a half hour ferry ride was stunningly beautiful. This is our fifteenth wedding anniversary. We have had so much fun together over the past fifteen years. It is only right that today should be such a perfect day.

Glacier Bay National Park

“And so we arrive in Glacier Bay, a land reborn, a world returning to life, a living lesson in resilience. If ever we needed a place to intrigue and inspire us, to help us see all that is possible in nature and in ourselves, this is it.”

This is the quote the ranger used to start our Glacier Bay boat tour today. As I sit writing this post in the lounge of the lodge I can say the quote is perfect and our ranger guide Caitlin Campbell was enthusiastic, entertaining and and very knowledgeable.

Today we learned that only 10,000 of the 500,000 people that visit Glacier Bay National Park each year touch land and take the National Park Service small boat tour. The rest are on cruise ships. We also heard multiple times today that our weather was unusual. The sun was shining and we could see the Fairweather Range where all the glaciers are formed. The Fairweathers are giant peaks on the horizon. The tallest peak is more than 1000 feet taller than any peaks in the lower forty-eight states.

Our boat tour started at 7:30 am. We saw so many animals: sea otters, tufted puffins, hump back whales, harbor seals, sea lions, a wolf!, a porcupine and bald eagles.

We learned that in 1780 the glaciers extended all the way to what is now the mouth of the bay. Today we had to go about fifty miles up the bay to get to the glaciers. But the glaciers…. Wow! Beautiful, Big, Awe inspiring!

On the boat Duke did the activities required to qualify as a Junior Ranger. He was inducted as a by our Ranger Guide. I’m so proud of him! Now he he keeps reminding me that he has the badge so he is knowledgeable and in charge!

We got back from our boat tour about 3:00 and then did a hike called the Bartlett River Trail. The forest here is moss covered and seems magical.

Finally we had salmon and beer for dinner in the lodge overlooking Bartlett Cove. What a perfect day!

Ketchikan to Glacier Bay National Park

We left Ketchikan on the Alaska Ferry about 9am. Our next stops were Wrangell and Petersburg. We were only in each port for 45 minutes so we didn’t get off. Between Wrangell and Petersburg we went through the Wrangell Narrows. The narrows are narrow! They only have enough water depth to allow the ferry to go through at high tide so the whole schedule is built to plan to be in the narrows then.

As a result we arrived in Juneau at 3:15 am. One of the vehicles unloading in Juneau was a giant RV with lettering on it for the CSPAN fifty capitals tour. I wonder what that is.

We waited in the Juneau ferry terminal until six am to board our ferry for Gustavos, the port for Glacier Bay National Park. The ferry ride was four hours and I slept the whole way.

We are staying at the lodge in the park. We had a stunning sunny day to explore around the lodge. We took a short hike and saw a moose cow and her baby!