~A trip of a LIFE TIME!
WOW! Alaska was an ADVENTURE of a life time. I really can’t believe it took me until I’m 40 to take the trip. The approximate 2000 international head count on the boat felt the same. When I say international I mean IT! We met people from Deli to New Zealand and mainland China. That in itself was half of the adventure. We met a simply GORGEOUS family from Puerto Rico. The mother of two boys talked about how she’d read and seen pictures of Alaska for years and couldn’t believe she was actually there. I realized I had WRONGFULLY took Alaska for granted.
I mean for YEARS now I’ve watched the Alaska bound cruise ships out my living room window RATHER non-chalantly. Albey and I could walk to the cruise terminal from our condo. I mean if I COULD walk (finger out gun style point click with-a WINK). Who knew Alaska was a hot ticket for people around the world?
I’ll tell you what though, after a day in Glacier Bay I’m a believer. I DON’T know what took me so long to go. I think I just thought I’d seen snow, seen mountains, seen snowcapped mountains before. Alaska Malaska! What’s the big deal with Alaska? Nope..Nope. I was wrong. It’s a BIG deal. So at 40 I’m not old but I’m not young either. I’ve never seen a place where no one has been to. I mean not in this country. There is a road you can drive on through the desert part of this country. You can ride a mule down the Grand Canyon. But Alaska?! There are no air ports or roads to Glacier Bay.
There is however a mountainous channel. It’s CRAZY! Here it was we were on this HUGE cruise ship, right?! It was dwarfed by seemingly endless mountain ranges lining both shores. Ok. OK. I’m still trying to process the experience. Mind you, the ship was at sea level. The mountains shot straight up out the water. If you were to jump out the boat and swim ashore you would get the shock of your life. There was no shore to be had. You would stop when your forehead hit the mountain. Then you need to start climbing a mountain immediately. Not a hill. A mountain. These ranges ran between 5,000 to 14,000 feet. Oh yeah almost forgot. Said mountains were covered with snow and ice. Oh and the channel? Y-e-a-h it was 5000 feet deep.
Then the channel dead ends at a HUGE glacier. As you get closer to it you begin to see icebergs in the water. Now this is a guided tour. Along the way three Forrest Rangers board the ship. They are on the ships intercom giving you facts, telling you were to look and so on. When we arrived at the glacier he excitedly told us bundle up, grab your cameras and meet the Rangers on deck. I felt like a kid at Disney Land for the first time. Heart beating fast, quickly putting on my coat, doesn’t know what to expect but you know it’s going to be good. As soon as you step on deck you know you not in Kansas anymore. Willikers it was cold. And you know GIRL HATES being cold! I didn’t even bat an eye.
Once we were at the front deck it was like BAM it was right there. In spots the ice was actually BLUE. It was like a sista was looking at Superman’s Arctic hang-out. I was TRIP’N. Oh and it wasn’t just the sight. I learned a new word, calving. Calving is when pieces of ice break of the glacier and fall into the water creating icebergs. The sound it makes is called white thunder. It’s deafening like thunder and happens expectantly.
We were fortunate enough that it happed a few times while we were there. If your eyes were quick enough to follow the sound you would actually see a large section of ice break off and fall into the water. That whole area is untouched by man. It doesn’t need to dare man to try to get its oil, gold and rare gems. All of which it has. Man is irrelevant to the area. It stands fortified, luxurious and strong. The only thing man can do is marvel at its beauty. The ship was abuzz after the glacier. People you didn’t know would stop and talk to you. 2000 strangers became a small village. We had just experienced mind bending beauty and power.
The next day we docked in Ketchikan. We went ashore for a tour. Our tour guide was a Klincet tribesman. Ok so at the get go he told us we could see bears on the tour. We stopped at a place to take pictures and low and be hold there was a BEAR! Now I was on the tour bus watching this unfold. At first I see a man pull his camera away from his face obviously not believing what he sees. Then he gestures to people to come to him. A GRIP of people descend on him snap’n pics like paparazzi! I couldn’t see the black bear but heard the people yelling BEAR! Next I heard and saw a tour guide yelling, running, waving his arms attempting to wrangle the crowd in. Apparently they forgot they were in Alaska not their city zoo. There is NO protective fence between you and him. I don’t care how close the tour bus is you’re NOT going to out run a bear.
On second thought, you don’t have to out run a bear. NO not at all. You just gotta be able to run faster than the tourist next to you.
Lastly, I would like to take a second to talk about “Washy Washy Happy Happy”. When we boarded the cruise in Seattle we were greeted by this cute, petite Asian woman. She held a spray bottle and motioned towards your hands smiling and nodding her head saying, “Washy Washy Happy Happy” as she sprayed. This ritual was repeated every time you got off the ship for port and back on. Oh and ambush “Washy Washy Happy Happy”. We would round a corner on the boat and THERE she was “Washy Washy Happy Happy”. It was always a cute little Asian lady that seemed to speak little English. Keep in mind she said “Washy Washy Happy Happy” to every person as she sprayed their hands. You never knew exactly where she’d POP UP! I have to admit it got to be a little creepizoid!
Ok but the best..the ABSOLUTE best was Ketchikan reentry. We enter the boat from port to a tall, 30 to 40, black man 6 feet plus all grin saying, “Happy Happy Washy Washy”.
Honestly none of had a CLUE of what was being sprayed on us. I just figured it was Norwegians attempt to steer clear of mass illness you hear about on cruises.
Most of you know I believe in God. The whole experience humbled me to his power and beauty. I really don’t know of another place I’ve been in wonder of him. In this modern world I’ve never been to a place where no one is looking at their cell phones, iPads, lap tops etc. You couldn’t! Yeah Alaska is the US but even in port a signal was very hit and miss. The Verizon dude probably is like, yeah you can’t hear me now and I don’t care. I’m not dealing with no snowcapped mountain. It was cool! A table in the game room was a hot commodity.
I really could go on forever about the experience because it was an experience. Alaska you ALL-ITE. WE COOL. WE COOL. I’m just say’n…