This final installment of our Alaskan vacation slide show includes pictures from our favorite part of the trip. I so wish that our pictures were able to do it justice – but we unfortunately lack the skills for a task of that magnitude (prepare yourself for lots of superlatives in this post).
From Juneau, we headed to a little town called Skagway. Prior to our trip, the entire family had submitted votes for each of our port excursions. For our trip to Skagway, however, my in-laws informed us that we were going on a highly recommended train-ride. We were all pretty convinced that a three-hour ride on the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway was bound to be semi-entertaining at best, but so far Alaska hadn’t failed to disappoint us, so with books and a deck of cards stowed in our backpacks, we boarded the train.
Words (and our pictures) fail to express how wrong we all were. The railroad, built during the Klondike Gold Rush, runs over some gorgeous mountains and up into British Columbia. We spent the entire three hours with our faces pressed against the windows, not wanting to miss a single moment. They even allowed us to stand on the platforms in between the rail cars – giving us a full view of the incredible landscape.
We learned all about the gold rush and the treacherous journey faced by gold seekers (who were racing to the Klondike by foot while the railroad was being built). If you are interested in that sort of thing – you can read all about it here.
For those who aren’t interested in history, here are some photos:
By the time we arrived back in the town of Skagway, we were hooked on the history of the place, and spent a couple of hours wandering in and out of gold rush museums.
We re-boarded the ship and spent the next couple of days at sea. But Alaska doesn’t need ports to amaze and entertain you – Alaska has glaciers!
Our first stop was Glacier Bay National Park, home of the famous Margerie Glacier, as well as a number of other glaciers. Our ship spent the better part of the day sailing around the bay – giving us plenty of opportunity to stand and stare. At this point in the trip, the weather had gotten quite a bit chillier, but we were content to bundle in our layers and lean against the rails, looking out at the massive views surrounding us.
One of the greatest things about watching the Margerie Glacier, is that we got to witness the glacier calving. Periodically, a huge chunk of the melting glacier breaks off and falls into the ocean. The sound that it makes is like thunder. I have a video of this as well, but the clicking of the camera next to me sounds louder than the glacier. You can get a sense of how great it was by how enthusiastic we all were about it. I promise – it was impressive.
As all good things come to an end, we had to leave Margerie behind. Thankfully, we had another full afternoon in College Fjord ahead of us – a valley of dozens of glaciers named for American colleges. It was a bit foggy when we arrived (as it apparently always is), but we got a good view of some of the glaciers anyways.
And it’s true – we do love our Alaska!
After College Fjord, our ship headed to its final destination, Anchorage – where we grabbed some local beers and a quick lunch before boarding our plane to fly back to the boring old Continental United States.
Somehow, life has gone on.
But we miss Alaska.
Dan and Chris – We cannot thank you enough for taking us on this dream vacation. We loved every second of it. It was such a blessing to have so much time with family and to be able to share so many amazing memories. We love looking back on these pictures, and I think we might still be full from all the good food we ate. Thank you for bringing us along and for your incredible generosity. We loved our trip to Alaska + we love you both very much!
Blog Readers: You did it! Thanks for sticking by me through all 3 parts of this vacation slide show. It was important to us to have all these memories written down. And if you haven’t been to Alaska yet – are you at least a bit convinced that you should add it to your bucket list?