2022 Alaska and the Inside Passage – Part 4 – Juneau and Mendenhall Glacier

August 26, 2022 – More overcast skies and rain greeted us as we docked in Juneau, Alaska’s capital city since 1906. We didn’t let the rain spoil our day.

There were several other cruise ships docked while we were there. The photo above was taken from our veranda early in the morning before most people ventured into town.

Our first order of business was lunch at Tracy’s King Crab Shack. We took our place in the line outside and quickly placed our order at the counter just inside the door. We grabbed two seats at a table and our food was brought to us after a few minutes. The menu is simple – crabs, crab cakes, and crab bisque. For $190 you could get a three pound bucket of Alaskan King Crab legs. We opted for a combination of Dungeness Crab, crab cakes and crab bisque.

Our meal was delicious and the crab bisque was to die for. By the time we finished lunch the streets and shops were filled with people. As we wandered around the waterfront we discovered some totems and watched several float planes take off and land.

It was pouring by the time we boarded our bus to the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. Our bus driver told us interesting facts about the city and pointed out places of interest along the way. There were a few eagle sightings.

The Visitor’s Center is managed by the by the United States Forest Service in the Tongass National Forest. We walked along trails to get a closer look at Mendenhall Glacier, Nugget Falls, and the floating chunks of ice.

On our way back to the ship we stopped at the Brotherhood Bridge for another look at the Mendenhall Glacier.

After a full day in Juneau we were ready for some relaxation when we returned to the ship.

If you are interested in reading about our 2013 visit to Juneau please visit A Day Cruise to Juneau

Next up – Wildlife in one of our favorite places in Alaska

2022 Alaska and the Inside Passage – Part 2 – Valdez and Hubbard Glacier

August 23, 2022 – More rain greeted us in Valdez, the northernmost ice-free port in Alaska. The town is located at the tip of a deep fjord in Prince William Sound with spectacular views of the Chugach Mountains. The southern terminus of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline carrying oil from Prudhoe Bay is in Valdez.

Our tour for the day was aptly named “Valdez on your own.” A shuttle bus picked us up at the cruise ship terminal to take us around the town. Our goal was to wander around the small boat harbor near where we had camped in our RV in August, 2013. We enjoyed wandering around looking at boats, browsing in some of the shops and eating a snack of garlic-rosemary fries at the Potato where we enjoyed talking to our server about the town. She told us the RV park is still there and told us where to find it.

Our shuttle ride back to the cruise ship dock took us near the RV park. As we drove through town our driver pointed out points of interest. Back at the cruise ship dock we wandered around the to see a monument dedicated to the men and women who built the Trans-Alaska Pipeline from 1969 to 1977. Another interesting sculpture has a giant octopus attacking a lighthouse.

Back on board ship we returned to our stateroom to find a bottle of champagne to celebrate our 52nd anniversary courtesy of the Viking Orion crew. We took the champagne with us to dinner to enjoy with our meal. We were surprised after dinner when our server brought us a cake to add to our celebration!

We had limited time to spend in Valdez because of the cruise ship schedule. There is a lot more see and do there. If you would like to read about our 2013 Valdez adventures please visit these posts: Waterfalls, Glaciers and Salmon in Valdez , Wildlife and Glacier Cruise from Valdez , and Bear Sighting on our last day in Valdez.

August 24, 2022 – The weather didn’t cooperate for our scenic cruising day. Rain and fog kept us from seeing much scenery so we mostly relaxed and enjoyed being on the ship. When the fog lifted for a few minutes I was able to capture a few pictures.

We were sailing through Yakatat Bay towards the Hubbard Glacier, the largest tidewater glacier in North America. The glacier is more that six miles wide where it meets the ocean and up to 400 feet tall.

As we approached the glacier we ventured out on the deck in the rain hoping for a better look. We were cold and wet but when we finally got close enough for a good view the weather cleared for a few minutes.

Hubbard Glacier

Next up – A new port and more wildlife sightings.

Wandering in the Last Frontier

We fell in love with Alaska nine years ago when we traveled from Georgia to Alaska and back towing our fifth wheel trailer. We’ve been wanting to return to the Last Frontier ever since.

Our wish finally came true at the end of August this year. This time we flew to Anchorage, took a tour bus to Seward and boarded the Viking Orion for a 10 day cruise ending in Vancouver. We returned to a few places we had visited by RV and saw some amazing new places. The scenery was stunning and there were many wildlife sightings.

These are just a few highlights of our journey.

Turnagain Arm between Seward and Anchorage
Brown Bear at Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center on the Seward Highway in Portage, Alaska

Seward, Alaska
Leaving Valdez
Hubbard Glacier, Yakatat Bay
Humpback Whales bubble net feeding – Icy Strait Point, Alaska
Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau
Coastal Brown Bear, Haines
Sea Otter Cub on Mama’s stomach – Sitka, Alaska
Bald Eagle – Sitka, Alaska
Black Bear in Eagle Creek – Ketchikan
Inside Passage somewhere between Ketchikan, Alaska and Vancouver, British Columbia

Memories of Alaska Glaciers

When I saw Terri’s Monthly Color Photo Challenge was for the color Glacier Blue, I took the challenge literally and browsed through my archives searching for the blue in my glacier images from our 2013 Alaska RV trip.

I was amazed each time we saw one of these ancient, gigantic bodies of ice. We saw a few from the road, many from nature cruises, and even some from an airplane. Each one took my breath away. We could feel the cold each time we approached one for a closer look. Seeing all these images again brought back many happy memories.

The captain of our cruise from Seward took us close to the Aialik Glacier and shut off the engines so we could see and hear the glacier calving. There’s more about that amazing experience at Glaciers and Wildlife in Seward

Aialik Glacier, Alaska
Calving on Aialik Glacier, Alaska

Probably the most memorable day of our Alaska journey was the day we took a flight seeing trip from Talkeetna. We not only saw glaciers from the air, but our plane landed on one.

Flying over a glacier in Alaska
The blue glacier water can be seen from the air
Beth on Ruth glacier under a clear blue sky

On a nature cruise from Valdez our boat navigated through the ice and in Juneau we saw Mendenhall Glacier up close.

Glacier Blue Ice in Alaskas
Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska

While these images make me cold as I look at them they also make me happy. I feel so grateful we were able to make the trip when we did.

Many thanks to Patti for this week’s Lens Artists photo challenge Emotions.

Throwback Thursday – August 1, 2013

I originally started the Wandering Dawgs blog as a way to keep friends and family updated as we traveled from Georgia to Alaska in 2013. Six years later, the blog is still going strong. We’re not traveling as much in our RV anymore so I thought it would be fun to relive some of our most memorable days from previous RV trips.

On this day six years ago, August 1, 2013, we were nearing the end of our stay in Alaska. That day, we drove from Glacier View, Alaska, to Valdez, our last major Alaska destination. I remember that drive was one of the most spectacular drives of our Alaska journey.

There were mountains and glaciers along the way.

On to drive to Valdez

Mantanuska Glacier
Mantanuska Glacier on the Glenn Highway

We could see Worthington Glacier from the highway about 30 miles from Valdez
We could see Worthington Glacier from the highway about 30 miles from Valdez

We had lunch with a view.

We had lunch at Willow Lake with a view of Mount Wrangell
We had lunch at Willow Lake with a view of Mount Wrangell

Welcome to Valdez
Welcome to Valdez

As we got close to Valdez we descended a long steep grade through Keystone Canyon and saw jaw dropping scenery as we drove by. We couldn’t stop while towing the fifth wheel so I took these waterfall phtotos the next day when we drove back up the highway for a closer look.

Bridal Veil Falls in Keystone Canyon
Bridal Veil Falls in Keystone Canyon

Horsetail Falls waterfall in Keystone Canyon
Horsetail Falls waterfall in Keystone Canyon

Our four days in Valdez were a great way to end our Alaska adventure before we began our return trip to Georgia.

To read more about that day, visit my original Wandering Dawgs post at Beautiful Drive to Valdez