The Alaska Recap
Pull up a chair. Dim the lights. It's time for my Alaska slideshow.
As a general policy I do not subject innocent bystanders to vacation pictures. I'm a middle child, after all. I realized long ago that every little move I make is not necessarily as fascinating to others as it is to me. So why the change of heart?
First, several people told me that they were considering trips to Alaska and actually asked to see my photos. What they did not realize is that Ron got a little carried away and shot more than 1500 pictures. Not even my mother could sit through that. So this post was the perfect excuse to do some editing.
Second, if you are reading this blog not because you know me and feel obligated but because you actually like to garden, then I am gambling that you will find Alaska interesting. Gardeners love nature; Alaska is all about nature; ergo, gardeners would love Alaska. Or so I rationalize.
If you are the adventurous type, and you are in great shape, and you have all the time in the world, then there may be a better way to see Alaska than on a cruise. By all means hike through Denali or visit the North Pole. For the rest of us, though, there's the traditional seven day cruise of the Inside Passage.
I had never been on a cruise before, so naturally I had all kinds of ideas - none of them good - about what they were like. The way I looked at it, if I didn't die from shipwreck or salmonella, I would probably die of boredom. Imagine my surprise when I found that staring blankly at the water puts you into a hypnotic state, and that the motion of the ship is the most relaxing thing on earth. By the end of Day Two I was in a trance.
Of course, I didn't come to Alaska only to stare at the ocean. I came to stare at the land, too. There was just so much of it - and everything was so big! The overcrowded Northeast, where I grew up, has nothing on this scale. When I lived in New York, I would smile benignly at wide-eyed tourists, all pointing up in awe at the Empire State Building or gaping at the carnival of life that is a New York City subway ride. Now it was my turn to be a stranger in a strange land.
To me, Alaska is a place unto itself. I wasn't surprised that the mountains and the glaciers would make me feel so small. What I didn't expect was that the cities and people would make me feel so weak. For instance, I am still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that the only way in or out of Juneau is by plane or boat. And that being cut off from other cities, and having to hop into a boat or seaplane every time you want to leave town, is no big deal for Alaskans. This is no country for wimps.
Then there is the wildlife. Our cruise was in early May - too early for salmon and, consequently, for bears. No matter. Cruising the waters, we saw plenty of eagles, killer and humpback whales, and porpoises. I was in heaven. Ron left his zoom lens at home - a big mistake. At least I had my binoculars.
I could go on and on, but I won't. The slideshow below has more images if you are so inclined. I'll close by saying yes, it was definitely worth it to miss my peonies. As it turned out, the gods were smiling - there were actually a few still blooming when I got home. But after Alaska, they were pretty anticlimactic.
7/27/2013 04:41:59 am
Amazing pictures, Sarah. I knew it would be better than the peonies!
7/27/2013 09:32:17 am
With any luck, my peonies will be even better next year, right?
7/27/2013 09:34:28 am
It must have been pretty cold! I hear you have to start the car, run back to the house, and wait for 30 minutes for the car to warm up.
7/27/2013 03:03:24 pm
'Never Cry Wolf' is one of my all time favorite movies...so I hear you.
7/28/2013 12:56:28 am
I didn't know about this movie until you mentioned it. Now I've checked it out and am planning to watch it. It sounds like the perfect follow up to my trip.
Loved this post! We toured Alaska in 2006, and everything you said was exactly as I felt it. The size and scope of the scenery . . . all of it! We did the White Pass railway and visited Skagway and did a lot of what you did too. (We did not do a cruise, but traveled by van all over the state and into Canada). I'm so glad the trip was everything you wanted. What a place.
7/28/2013 03:57:23 am
Thanks, Laurrie. I can't stop thinking about it, particularly Glacier Bay. You must have gotten to see so much more of it than I did. Maybe there is another trip in my future.
7/28/2013 04:00:17 am
It was a bummer in a way, but I'm glad we made the trip in May. No mosquitoes yet, and with the snow still there, picture perfect scenery.
7/28/2013 09:08:20 am
Thanks. It was like nothing else in my experience. You probably have had a more adventurous life than I, though!
7/29/2013 02:20:58 am
I enjoyed your slideshow very much! I have always wanted to visit Alaska. It is definitely on my bucket list!
7/29/2013 06:35:10 am
It seems to be on a lot of people's bucket lists. Not easy for most of us to get to, but so worth it once you do.
7/30/2013 09:19:14 am
I can see going there in the middle of July, but that's about the only time I would want to venture north. So many people, though, talk about their Alaska trips as life-changing. So maybe I'll do it one of these days. Missing Peonies in May/June would be extra tough for me, though. Gorgeous photos!
7/30/2013 10:01:59 am
I can understand why Alaska might not be your dream trip, since you already live in a cold climate and have a short growing season to enjoy. As for me, I loved visiting, but could never live there.
Most people dream of tropical vacations- I have always wanted to go somewhere north. I love that opening shot. Can you believe I have never seen a single mountain in my whole life? (I have seen the "mountains" of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia but they are more like hillside cliffs.) One day I would love to go to Alaska.
8/1/2013 01:51:06 am
If you like a cold climate, and you like mountains, then Alaska is definitely for you. As for me, I've been dying to visit Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island,. It's on our list of maybes for next summer.
8/2/2013 01:23:16 am
I remember that you lived in Alaska. What an amazing, fascinating, gorgeous place it is. And so big. I feel as if I only scratched the surface.
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The Galloping Horse Gardener is a native New Yorker who packed it in in 2005 to live under the radar in Cary, North Carolina. In 2014, she removed to a new secure location somewhere in Raleigh.
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