After 9 1/2 hours on the scenic train ride from Denali to Whittier, we were ready to disembark and get settled into the cabin on the Island Princess where we’d be for the next seven nights.
I hate to mention this, but it took us at least two days to get our bearings as to where our cabin was in relation to everything else – the dining rooms, the ship’s theatre, the atrium, the casino, the internet café, etc. The elevators closest to our room didn’t go to all floors, which meant we’d travel down a few floors, get off, and then walk half the length of the ship to get to the elevators that traveled down several more levels. We laughed at ourselves (and others – we certainly weren’t by ourselves) when we’d exit an elevator, step out, and then stand there a few seconds deciding whether to go left or right.
Our cabin was almost at the front of the ship on the Baja deck (floor 11), so we only had to walk a short distance down our hall and go through two doors to be . . .We left Whittier on Wednesday, May 17, (temp 43 degrees) and navigated the Passage Canal into Prince William Sound. During the night the ship set out across the Gulf of Alaska.
After leaving Yakutat Bay, we sailed toward Cape Spencer and the approaches to Glacier Bay, and by Friday morning we entered the waters of the Glacier Bay National Park. National Park Rangers from the Park Ranger Boat “Serac” joined us on board during the morning and gave several talks throughout the day about the park.
I filmed a short video that includes the sound of ice breaking off the glacier (calving). Make sure your sound is turned up!: https://www.facebook.com/brenda.horton.714/videos/10154969285198301/
Some “icy” history:
We did spend quite a bit of time outside on the decks while viewing Marjorie Glacier on Friday. The landscape was so foreign to us Southerners that it was jaw-dropping just to stand and gaze around. Pure frigid splendor
Even in 1897 Skagway had electric lights and telephones. It also had 80 saloons, three breweries, many brothels, and other service or supply businesses. It was the starting point to the White Pass Trail, 10 miles longer, but less steep and 600 feet lower than the original trail (Chilkoot) taken by the first gold miners at Dyea. But after two months of overuse, White Pass Trail was destroyed. The next year investors began to build the White Pass and Yukon Route railroad. By the time it was finished in 1900, the gold rush was over.
The route features steep grades of almost 3.9%, and the tight curves of the White Pass called for a narrow gauge railroad. The rails are three feet apart on a 10-foot wide road bed.
There’s no way these pics give you even a tiny, tiny look at the reality of this train trip. Because there was very little “green” yet at this location, the photos came out gray and dull. You just have to trust me that the reality of this venue was spectacular beyond words. And these pics don’t tell the unbelievable story of how thousands of gold miners WALKED and CLIMBED to this summit as the railroad was being built. Each miner was allowed to cross into the Yukon with one ton of supplies. That meant MANY trips on foot back and forth across this summit as they carried on their backs and on the backs of horses as much as they could with each trip. This is one of the many parts of our Alaska trip I’d like to repeat later in the summer..
Tomorrow night – from Juneau to Vancouver! Come on back for the last leg of our journey!