Here are some photos and video about our trip to Alaska. We cruised the first section of our trip
from Vancouver to Seward with my mom and sister and the second section we traveled independently
up to Denali National Park.

Day 5 - Juneau and onward to Skagway


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After a night's cruising, we docked in Juneau, the capital city of Alaska and apparently, the only state
capital that none of its residents can drive to (forget Honolulu). My mom was feeling quite a bit better
and we wandered around the city (of 30,000 people). Here she is with a big stuffed grizzly bear outside
a tacky souvenir shop.


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Here's Natalia with Sarah Palin - the ex-governor of Alaska and the laughing stock of the whole planet
during the last presidential election for her extreme ignorance of the world.


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While we had initially planned on kayaking for our day in Juneau, when they changed the time to 7AM, we
politely cancelled. Instead, we wandered the town, checking out landmarks like this one in Manila Square
which praised the role that Filipinos had played in the history of the town.


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The 'World Famous' Red Dog Saloon.


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Inside the Red Dog Saloon is a pretty old wooden saloon dating back to the gold rush days. There are business
cards and dollar bills all over the bar.


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As well as a guy playing the piano.


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Here I am out side the 'World Famous' (or famous for cruise ship tourists) Red Dog Saloon.


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Mom wanted to take this shot with the waterfall behind me in Juneau.


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A lot of the local business owners live up on the hill behind the main shopping street. Check out
these stairs!


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Natalia and I out front of St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church - the oldest surviving Russian church
in Alaska.


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This is the bell tower that rotted off the back of the church.


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I thought this was a nice angle of the church, even with the new shingles on the foyer.


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We lucked out and made it in time for the free tour of the State Capitol building. This is inside the
Finance Committee's chambers. It likely wasn't the girls' first choice, but I quite enjoyed the tour.


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Inside the Senate briefing room I think. The wood on the ceiling is original as is the paint. Since the
building pre-dates Alaska becoming a state, this was actually part of the original Territorial goverment
building.

Mendenhall Glacier


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On a lark, we decided to take a bus tour up to the Mendenhall Glacier, only about 30 minutes from downtown
Juneau. Here are Natalia and my Mom with the toe of the glacier visible in the distance.


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While it looks like this is calving into the ocean, it's actually dropping icebergs into Mendenhall Lake. This
is taken from close to the visitor's centre.


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This is what Natalia really wanted to do was kayak amongst icebergs and glaciers. Some one actually died
the day before we were there when they fell into this lake. They didn't drown but they died of hypothermia
by the time someone fished his body out. In either case, it's pretty cool to kayak with ice.


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A good shot of my Mom with Mendenhall Glacier behind her.


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All three of us at Mendenhall. I didn't realize how large this icefield is, but it basically covers from
here to the Canadian border with BC.


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I fished out a few pieces of ice from the lake which Natalia thought was pretty cool.


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Here's Natalia tasting the ice.


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I'd say it tastes like about 200 year old snow.


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With a little help from a few other young tourists and Natalia, I hopped into the lake and pulled this piece
of ice towards shore. The water was CHILLY!


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A good map of the Icefield. You can see it go to the border.

Up the Mt Roberts Tramway


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The ladies were feeling like they were done touring so they went back up on the ship, but I went for a short
exploratory hike up Mt Roberts. I was absolutely stunned by the wildflowers up here. These are either avens
or buttercups on the left and wild geraniums on the right.


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A view looking down at the cruise ships. Ours is on the right.


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These are Nootka lupins and we saw them all over Alaska.


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I quite liked the view from the top looking to the north. I hiked up to a small white cross from the
top of the tram.


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I kept going a little ways and stopped when I got to the snowline.


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Surprisingly, I saw some parasailers out enjoying the day. It seemed like they had launched from the
north side here, which makes no sense to me unless they were heavily using the wind.


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This guy came pretty close to me along this ridge. Below the parasailer is a pretty broad bowl so he
had a fair amount of safety margin here.


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It reminded me of Natalia and I's tandem afternoon in Golden although we had neither snow nor ocean to
look at.


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The other parasailer came close to me as well.


Day 6 Skagway, AK


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Again, we cruised at night and docked into Skagway while we slept. This is the view of the Norwegian
Cruise Lines pair of boats in dock with us.


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Our excursion for this day was a ride up the White Pass and Yukon Route railway. I was particularly excited
to see this train since we had been to Skagway previously with Annie and Marty. Here is Natalia with the
last train car behind her.


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Here is Natalia inside the train car reading the pamphlet about the train. The long and the short of it is that
by the time it was finished, the gold rush was over. It got used a fair amount though in a variety of different
capacities. More about the railway HERE .


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Here is our train going over an older wooden bridge.


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Here is Natalia watching our train go over another wooden bridge.


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These sawtooth peaks looked pretty cool with the cloud layer.


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This is looking backwards at the rest of the train just before we went into a tunnel. Again, notice the
cool wooden trestle-style bridge we're on.


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This is an older bridge that is no longer in use (Thank God!).


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Here we are at the White Pass, elevation 2888 feet, the border between Alaska and BC. I like the small obelisk.


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Natalia with the flags of the US, Alaska, BC, Yukon, and Canada.


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It's pretty hard to imagine hiking this rough-looking trail over 40 times with 50 lbs on your back. It was
required for gold-seekers to have '>2000 lbs of gear before the Canadian Mounties let them into the country.
More about the Gold Rush HERE .


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Natalia thought it was really fun being inside the tunnels with no light. I took this one with a flash that
almost blinded her and me.


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Here is Natalia with that same older bridge not in use. It looks more than a little rickety.


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From this vantage point, we can see all the way back to Skagway, roughly 20 miles away.


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I quite like this photo as we get both the moving train and the peaks along the route.


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I took this since I thought it funny that a company was marketing a Canadian diamond as 'Canadia'. This
is what some of my American friends call Canada since they simply remove the 'n' from Canadian.


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The view looking down the main drag (Broadway) in Skagway. Quite a bit different from the view in the winter
with no cruise ships in port. See that view HERE .


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When we told Natalia's friend Annie that we were cruising, she said she'd come down and meet us so she and
Marty drove down from Whitehorse to have lunch with us at the Skagway Brewing Company (I love their beer and
tater tots!) and spend a little time. We took a stroll out towards Smuggler's Cove.

Video around Smuggler's Cove



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Natalia and Annie looking towards Dyea.


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I thought the cloud above this mountain looked like a volcanic plume. Of course, it's not.


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The view from our cruise ship as we headed out of the Lynn Canal. I thought the name was great since
that's Natalia's maiden name.

Video of cruising the Lynn Canal



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I thought this little lighthouse was cool.

Formal Photos in Alaska


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This day was Natalia and I's 3rd wedding anniversary. It was also one of the two formal nights on the boat.
We decided to take some nice photos from our balcony to commemorate the day. Here's a nice photo of Renée
Natalia, and my Mom.


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A really nice photo of my Mom and I from our balcony in Alaska.


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We had a few glasses of wine and champagne in our room prior to dinner. Here's Renée on our loveseat/chair.


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Mom also picked up some snacks to enjoy.


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The ladies found this guy as an anniversary gift for Natalia and I. It is absolutely a singing pirate.


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Natalia took a photo similar to the Corona ads. I think the pirate (Ricco) is enjoying himself a lot.


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Renée has a pirate on her shoulder, and the pirate has a parrot on HIS shoulder!


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Here's my Mom with her pirate eyepatch along with Ricco.


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In a flash of genius, my Mom flagged down a random guy in the hallway to take some photos of all of us.
Here's a nice shot of the four of us from our balcony along the Lynn Canal in Alaska.


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A close-up of all of us having a hoot.


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We thought this guy (Dylan) was quite an entertaining young gentleman. He was on the cruise to accompany
his parents on their wedding anniversary trip and it was he who Mom flagged in the hallway. Good choice Mom!
Notice that Ricco's pants are down...


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Natalia and I had dinner at Q-sine restaurant. Their style was actually kind of neat in that you could choose
any item you want and they'd keep bringing it out to you. They're all sized for sharing and contrary to
tapas, they were all manner of styles of food. These are the meatballs.


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These are all mini Chinese menu items.


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This is a slider and fries and Natalia is having the crab dish for a second time.


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This is the dessert menu. Seriously. It's a puzzle where each time you move it around, there's another
menu item. Quite unique.


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We went with the rocket ship of three gelatos.


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After dinner, we retired to the martini lounge where the whole bar top is frozen metal so it winds up with
this neat icy surface that you can write on.


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Even though this was taken through the boat's window, I still thought the sun on the ocean was really cool.


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Here are the ladies rocking out martinis at the martini bar.


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Every time we'd stop at a port of call, the cruise ship people would try to take our photos with ridiculous
animals, Eskimos, you name it, and then try to sell you those photos. Well, I instead took a photo of their
photo. Take that Celebrity!


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The beer bar (Michael's) was actually quite well-stocked and I enjoyed this German doppelbock.


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The Q-sine waiter decorated this for our anniversary. A little bit different than the one we got last
year in China. You can see that one HERE .


Day 7 - The Hubbard Glacier


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We woke up to the sound of ice gliding by our boat as we approached the Hubbard Glacier. Again, this is the
view from our balcony.


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A big chunk of ice flowing past the boat.


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This was our first glimpse of the Hubbard Glacier, a tidewater glacier that is dumping icebergs
directly into the ocean. The only other time I've seen this is in Iceland HERE . More about the Hubbard Glacier is HERE .

Video of our view as we look at the Hubbard Glacier



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Even though this glacier looks small, the height here is ~250 feet off the ocean surface.


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A look to the west of our boat to see ice in the water.


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A glacier calving to produce an iceberg. This sounded like thunder.


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I thought the Wrangell/St Elias mountains above the glacier were not ugly at all. The top of this peak
forms part of the border between Canada and the US. I think this is Mount Hubbard.


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Natalia and the Hubbard Glacier.


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I give the Hubbard Glacier the Paul Perrault stamp of approval.


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I thought it was cool that I could see the river of ice further behind this glacier. The ice that
is calving off is ~400 years old.

Video of a closer look at the Hubbard Glacier



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We were super blessed with such a nice weather day. I kept expecting rain but we did well the whole trip.
Here is Natalia with a nice view of the glacier.


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Natalia and I and the Hubbard Glacier.


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What more could you want - sun, snow, ocean, glacier, iceberg. All awesomeness.


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This is pretty neat since you can see more of the detail of the glacier surface. The number of different
ice colours is pretty sweet.


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Here is Natalia looking over to the west of us to another glacier in Disenchantment Bay.

Video of the closest view of the Hubbard Glacier



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I thought this view of the glacier was also pretty cool.


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Me and the Hubbard Glacier.


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It was challenging to take a photo that didn't have a pile of people in it.


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Natalia and I and the Hubbard Glacier.

Video of the Hubbard Glacier calving



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As we're cruising away, I saw this hunk of ice and thought it looked cool.

Video of us leaving Disenchantment Bay



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As surprising as this will seem to someone who knows my Mom, this is actually her first hot dog of the trip.
We could eat anything anytime, so it's a bit of a wonder why she didn't go to town.


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Here are a few towels that the pool porters made into a cat with a mouse.


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Mom and I enjoying an afternoon drink on the boat in the solarium.


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One of the ladies' favourite stops was Bingo. Natalia lost a little less than Renée.

Day 8 - Seward to Anchorage via the Kenai Peninsula


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We woke up (really early) to the boat docked in Seward, our terminus. You can just see the train from our
boat, which is our next stop.


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The view from our balcony looking across the bay.


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My Mom and the Seward, Alaska sign.


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Renée and Natalia and the Alaska Railroad engine.


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Renée and my Mom with their train tickets for the almost 5 hour train trip to Anchorage.


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Natalia and a really nice lake on the Kenai peninsula.


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The Kenai is filled with mountains and glaciers and lakes, and I was quite pleased to take this photo
of the mountain reflected into the lake almost perfectly.

Video of a look around the Alaska Railroad



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These are icebergs that had calved off from the glacier, but are flowing in the river.


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We saw a small black bear (Natalia spotted it I think) from the train.


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Another glacier along the Kenai peninsula.


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Renée is expressing her dislike for hot chocolate with whipped cream.

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