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Posts Tagged ‘Star Princess’

Next stop, Juneau, the capital city of Alaska.

Welcome to Juneau. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

Welcome to Juneau. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

We wandered leisurely along the water’s edge into town, again marveling at the magnificent warm weather and brilliant sunshine. We’d been warned that the weather in Alaska in September can be really wet. As we’d lucked out with amazing weather in Ketchikan, we’d lucked out again in Juneau.

 Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Historic Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Historic Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

After a couple hours of exploring, we ventured back into the rain forest for a morning zipping through the trees and walking across swinging suspension bridges high over narrow, deep canyons. It was thrilling if not a wee bit scary.

C. Rickrode ready to zipline. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

C. Rickrode ready to zipline. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

C. Rickrode. Rainforest Canopy & Zipline Expedition. Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

C. Rickrode. Rainforest Canopy & Zipline Expedition. Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Here is a very short, and I mean very short, video of my husband taking his practice run.

Later we boarded the tram and ascended 1,800 feet up the steep slope of Mount Roberts for an afternoon hiking in the fresh air.

Mount Roberts Tram - Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Mount Roberts Tram – Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode at the top of the Mount Roberts Tramway. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode at the top of the Mount Roberts Tramway. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

The Star Princess from atop Mount Roberts - Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

The Star Princess from atop Mount Roberts – Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Gastineau Channel - Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Gastineau Channel – Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

View of Inside Passage from atop Mount Roberts. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

View of Inside Passage from atop Mount Roberts. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode on the nature trail on Mount Roberts. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode on the nature trail on Mount Roberts. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

Late blooming flowers on Mount Roberts. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Late blooming flowers on Mount Roberts. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

With so much yet to do and see, we were dismayed that the time had come for us to return to ship. On our return walk along the wharf, we spotted several eagles, but I was not able to get a good picture. Still no bears. Maybe tomorrow in Skagway.

The Star Princess docked at Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014

The Star Princess docked at Juneau, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014

Have you seen our majestic national bird in the wild? Have you come across some late-blooming wild flowers? What surprises have delighted you this early part of autumn?

Word of the day: Isallobar

Fun fact about me: I love tomato soup, ketchup, tomato sauce, and tomatoes but I hate tomato juice.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, September 2014. Original photos and video by P. Rickrode and C. Rickrode.

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Our first day in Alaska did not disappoint. Ketchikan, the southernmost city in Alaska and the salmon capital of the world, is, in a word, be-you-ti-ful. (You have to say it like that, 4 syllables.) Don’t believe me? Here’s the what we saw from the Lido deck of the Star Princess:

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Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

 

Lutheran Church - Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Lutheran Church – Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode and the Star Princess at Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode and the Star Princess at Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

Our land portion of our Ketchikan experience took us into the Tongass National Forest where we hiked deep into the rain forest and the very heart of bear country. I hoped for an up close encounter.

Tongass National Forest - Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Tongass National Forest – Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Tongass National Forest - Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode

Tongass National Forest – Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode

Maybe if I ventured into a bear cave . . . I might just get lucky . . . .

Bear cave. Tongass National Forest - Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Bear cave. Tongass National Forest – Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

No luck, although there was a lot of bear poop. I was surprised to see Spanish moss and even more surprised to see the wicked undersides of these massive leaves. Yes, those are thorns and when they prick skin they immediately form a barbed hook and become impossible to extract. Yikes!!

Tongass National Forest - Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Tongass National Forest – Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Tongass National Forest - Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Tongass National Forest – Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

We journeyed past a fishery with a waterway well-stocked with fish, mostly salmon. But still – no bears despite the never-ending fish buffet. The birds were enjoying the spoils that the bears had left behind. Seems bears only eat the heads and skin of the fish, leaving the birds to scavange the red fleshy parts many humans so love.

Tongass National Forest - Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Tongass National Forest – Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Spawning salmon. Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Spawning salmon. Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Next we met a Native totem pole carver, who enlightened us about the dying art of carving totem poles. Then we saw the end results of many fine woodsmiths. I felt compelled to pose amidst the standing art. You can get a sense of the size of some of these works of art which all tell a story.

Totem pole carver at work. Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Totem pole carver at work. Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode and totems. Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode and totem poles. Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

Still no bears. But I did feed a reindeer, which is weird because there are no reindeer in Alaska, except these few in captivity. (My husband was not as quick at snapping the picture as the reindeer was of eating the lettuce.)

P. Rickrode feeding a eindeer at Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode feeding a reindeer at Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

Then we headed to lunch, where I finally got my Alaskan bear experience with, not one, but four bears, at a little slice of celestial awesomeness known as the George Inlet Lodge,

P. Rickrode at the George Inlet Lodge. Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode at the George Inlet Lodge. Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

George Inlet Lodge - Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

George Inlet Lodge – Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Here, we dined on Alaskan Amber beer and Dungeness crab – all you can eat – from a room with this amazing view:

George Inlet Lodge - Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

George Inlet Lodge – Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

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Talk about an amazing day. We were well-fed and well-educated by the time we climbed the 85 steps back up to the bus.

George Inlet Lodge - Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

George Inlet Lodge – Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

So there you have it. Our first official day in Alaska, albeit just barely inside the boundary. Ketchikan, Alaska earns a two thumbs up and a high-ranking number on my list of “places I have to go back to.”

Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. RIckrode 2014.

Ketchikan, Alaska. Photo by P. RIckrode 2014.

Have you ever been to Ketchikan? Do you enjoy salmon? Do you have any nasty, wound-inducing plants in your neck of the woods? Inquiring minds want to know.

Oh – and there’s a special prize for the first person who finds the hidden Mickey.

Word of the Day:  Hedgehop

Fun fact about me: I’m allergic to salmon, which sucks when you’re in the salmon capital of the world.

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, October 2014. Original photos by P. Rickrode and C. Rickrode.

 

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San Francisco is not known for it’s sunny days or bikini-riddled beaches. In fact, most days, it’s socked in with fog and you’re lucky if you get a tiny glimpse of the famous Golden Gate Bridge. But, the locals are blessed with a few really warm days every year around the autumnal equinox.

Such was our experience on day one of our 11-day voyage to Alaska. We arrived at the bustling pier with suitcases bursting at the seams and anticipation oozing from our pores.

Once onboard the Star Princess we made our way to the upper decks and breathed in the sea air. We had an amazing view of Alcatraz.

Alcatraz Island. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Alcatraz Island. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

The Golden Gate Bridge to the west – our destination

Golden Gate Bridge. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Golden Gate Bridge. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

and the new Bay Bridge and Treasure Island from whence we had just come to the east.

Bay Bridge. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Bay Bridge. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Before long, the band struck up a lively sail away tune, eager cruisers boggied on the Lido deck as bartenders hustled to concoct icy perfection in silver shakers. And then, the captain blew that awesome horn. BON VOYAGE!

I sipped on a Desperado, an amazing mixture of Dos Equis and Don Julio, whilst we inched away from the pier, waving at the tourists arriving back from a day of exploration on Alcatraz Island. We glided past sailors basking in the warm sunshine on the bows of their sleek white boats and and shiny playful seals barking from the wooden planks of the marina.

Pier 35 at the wharf in San Francisco. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Pier 35 at the wharf in San Francisco. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

As the city slid past us on the port side, we inched ever closer to the orange monolithic columns of the most famous bridge in California, dwarfing the whale watching vessels coming back to port.

Golden Gate Bridge. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

Golden Gate Bridge. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

We chugged under the massive steel structure and into the looming fog bank on the other side.

The under belly of the Goldene Gate Bridge. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

The under belly of the Golden Gate Bridge. Photo by P. Rickrode 2014.

The last dregs of sunlight gleamed off the magnificent towers and swooping spans of the bridge as we steadily made our way toward the open sea.

P. Rickrode and the Golden Gate Bridge. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

P. Rickrode and the Golden Gate Bridge. Photo by C. Rickrode 2014.

We were off. Day one!

Stay tuned for port one in Alaska.  Totem poles and all you can eat crab at Ketchikan!!

Have you ever been to San Francisco? Have you ever sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge? What impressive venture have your embarked upon lately. I love it when you share your experiences.

Word of the Day: Gas maser

Fun fact about me: I have never seen a walrus (except in pictures).

Original post by Jansen Schmidt, October 2014. Original photos by P. Rickrode.

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