Saturday, September 6, 2014

Helicopters, Glaciers, Floatplanes, & Friends

The past two weeks have satisfied my Alaskan adventurous spirit. A few weeks ago, I escorted a Glacier tour in Skagway.  We basically took an hour boat ride to a small island off Homer where we canoed to Douglas Glacier.  It was a beautiful day, and luckily the water was low enough so we could walk onto the glacier.  

As always, I found the waterfall and since glacier water is claimed to be the purest, best tasting water ever, I sampled it. 

It tasted as great as they claimed! 

We also saw an ice cave.  The colors were absolutely gorgeous. Apparently, the beauty is deceiving because an ice cave is potentially one of the most dangerous parts of a glacier.  It was gorgeous to view though. 

Last week was one of  the best weeks I have had here because my dear friends from Nashville, the Martins, came cruising.  We really had an amazing time together both adventuring and socializing.   Our first tour consisted of Humpback whales, Orcas, Sea Lions, & Sea Otters — all viewed from a  six-seater raft.  Here are just a few highlights.  

Orcas (above) followed by sea otters and Humpbacks (below)

Juneau was possibly the highlight for me where we rode a helicopter to the Mendenhall Glacier and trekked on it.  It really was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had.

When we flew back to the area of the glacier, it was as if we entered into another world.  There was no life back there — just ice, snow, and mountains.  It was majestic and a reminder of how small we humans really are compared to this vast world we live in. 

Here we are ready to trek! 

After getting our crampons and ice picks, we started walking on the glacier which was a bit more difficult than I had guessed it would be.  You are walking on ice so balance and crampons (like sharp metal teeth on your boots) are the only way you are staying up.  Of course we made our way to another waterfall, and I wanted a photo w/ it.  GORGEOUS!

Here is a look back at our camp (the little orange tent) compared w/ the great big glacier world.  

And here  is looking at the glacier from before we began trekking up it.

 Notice how small the people are halfway up it.  It was a great day, and I was so thankful to share this experience with two people I love dearly.  

Skagway was rainy & cold so we took the famous Skagway train.  I had taken this tour at least four times, but the views never get old, plus we chatted and laughed along the way. 

Our last day in Ketchikan we got lucky and booked the float plane tour.  Riding in the float plane was an experience in itself but the views of the fjords were gorgeous.  Along the flight our pilot landed in a lake, and we were able to get out and look around on the planes “floats”.  What can I say — gotta love Alaska. 

Ready to take off! 

Ladies and gentlemen, here are the misty fjords of Ketchikan. 

Just hanging out on the “floats” of the float plane in the lake.  Yes, I do love Alaska. 

And when we weren’t adventuring, Shari & Red were the best audience members ever, frequenting all our shows.  My whole cast fell in love w/ them. Here we are after the Abba show. 

 And the Motown show...

And my country show...

It was a wonderful week with two dear friends, close as family to me.  Thank you Red and Shari for coming, and I hope you as wonderful a time as I did with you both! 

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