Alaska, Canada and Seattle 2007
September 6th through 16th

On September 6th, we flew up to Anchorage, Alaska from Houston a day before getting on a seven day Celebrity Cruise.  The boarding for the Cruise was at 9pm on Friday the 7th which gave us two nights and a day to explore Anchorage and surrounding areas.  The Cruise consisted of many days of beautiful scenery and great shore excursions.  After the Cruise, the ship docked in Vancouver, Canada where we spent a day and half exploring before going onto Vancouver Island and then on to Seattle, Washington to end the vacation.

This trip, like many before, we went with our good friends Dan Lee and Mia Pham.  Our plane tickets were free by using Continental Ski miles and our hotels were mostly free also by using points and sharing accommodations. 

Several months before the Cruise we researched the Cruise stops on the Internet and decided on booking car rentals so that we could explore more and save a tremendous amount of money.  Most of the shore excursions started at $70 a person up to $500, where we read that most excursions were free or inexpensive if you simply got your own way to them.  So we booked car rentals at some of the stops with exception of Icy Strait Point, which has everything in walking distance, and Juneau where we booked busing on the boat dock.

Anchorage, Matanuska Glacier and Seward, Alaska - Sep 6th & 7th

1 View of mountains in the background from our hotel
2 Johnna and Keith eating Dinner at Humpy's Great Alaskan Alehouse the night we arrived.
3 Mia and Dan at Humpy's
4 A view on Highway 1 going towards Matanuska Glacier. 
5 Keith at Matanuska Glacier.  Two hours northeast of Anchorage.
6 View of the scenery from Highway 1 going down to Seward from Anchorage.  Turnagain Arm / Cook Inlet ocean on the right .  (large photo)
7 Keith and Johnna at dinner after boarding the ship, Friday evening around 7pm.
8 View of the snow topped mountains from onboard while docked.

Hubbard Glacier (Cruising) - Sep 8th
(note: Some of these photos are large in size, so they may take a while to download.)

The ship stopped with a great view of the left (dirty side) and right sides of glacier.  While we were there we heard what is called White Thunder, which is the sound of the ice cracking.  The noise is quite loud and unlike anything you have heard before.  The sound is often the notice to look towards the direction it came from along this huge glacier in the hopes of seeing parts of the glacier fall into the ocean.

9 Approaching the glacier.  Only about half of it is in view.
10 Closer in to the glacier, with more icebergs from the glacier floating around the ship.
11 View of both sides of the glacier in view.
12 Johnna on lower deck with left side of glacier in background
13 Keith on lower deck with left side of glacier in background
14 View of right glacier from top front deck.   (large photo.)
  A helicopter view of the glacier, which I took off a web site to show the immense size.  The ship is on the right side of the glacier.
15 View of right glacier as we leave.
16 Formal Dining that evening

Juneau, Alaska - Sep 9th

After taking bus into town, we booked another bus to Mendenhall Glacier, where we viewed salmon streams, a small bear feeding, the glacier and walked through the forest to the right of glacier.  After coming back into Juneau, we ate at local recommended seafood restaurant and walked through the town.

17 Johnna and Keith on shore standing next to Juneau welcome to city board.
18 Johnna walking away from the Juneau Trolley.  It was too cloudy / overcast to take.  Notice clouds in city.
19 View of Mendenhall Glacier (large photo)
20 Johnna on shore with Mendenhall Glacier in background
21 Keith on shore of Mendenhall Glacier with right side of glacier bay with icebergs floating in the background
22 Johnna and Mia overlooking Mendenhall Glacier bay with it's floating icebergs and low hanging clouds.
23 Another view of Mendenhall Glacier
24 A small black bear hunting salmon on one of the streams running into Mendenhall Glacier bay.
25 Mia, Dan and Johnna on walking bridge in the forest trails of Mendenhall Glacier park.
26 Keith and Johnna standing on one of the main downtown streets.
27 Leaving Juneau.  A view from the back of the ship at 9pm.  We were docked in front of the two ships. 

Skagway, Alaska - Sep 10th

We picked up a rent a car and drove way into Canada through British Columbia and Yukon Territory to see Emerald Lake which is near the town of Whitehorse, Yukon.  Along the way we drove the Klondike Highway and saw some other beautiful scenery such as Tutshi and Tagish Lakes along with land marks like the William Moore Creek Bridge and the Yukon Suspension Bridge.  Upon returning to Skagway we watched a free 30 minute film on the Klondike Gold Rush which started the town and the highways.  After the film we walked more of the town and went to the cemetery to see the graves mentioned in the film and Chilkoot trail which starts next to the cemetery.  

28 Johnna standing near our docked ship at the port.
29 Keith standing on the north side of the William Moore Creek Bridge
30 A view of two glaciers, at the top of the two mountains, on the way to the Alaskan and Canada border.  The picture doesn't do the view justice.
31 Keith standing in front of an island view on Tutshi Lake as we drove north
32 Another view with Johnna standing with Tutshi Lake in the background.
33 Johnna and Keith on the British Columbia and Yukon border  (large photo)
34 Johnna standing in front of Emerald Lake
35 Close up of Emerald Lake (taken from a Internet site.)
36 Keith standing far up from Emerald Lake to show another view.
37 A view of Bove Island on the Tagish Lake.
38 Mia standing above another view of Tagish Lake.  (large photo)
39 Keith standing in the colorful landscape of the area around Tagish Lake.   (large photo)
40 Jefferson R Smith grave who is mentioned in the Klondike Gold Rush National Parks film
41 Keith standing near a stream and opposite of a bear cave on a beautiful waterfall along the Chilkoot trail.
42 A view of the bear cave on the Chilkoot trail.
43 Johnna standing along the same stream / waterfall with a view farther down stream.

Icy Strait Point & Hoonah, Alaska - Sep 11th

The shipped was tendered at this location.  When we arrived there was a lot of low clouds surrounding the the ship and the town of Hoonah, which blocked the view until later in the day.  We took a bus ride into town, walked the dock and town areas; had some freshly caught Halibut at a small restaurant; and then took a mile and half walk back to the Icy Strait Point dock.  At the dock, we walked the Forest Nature Tram excursion.

44 Johnna at the Hoonah harbor dock with a view of the clouds blocking the view of the mountains in the background
45 Keith on the same dock with a view back towards Icy Strait Point with the view of the ship completely obscured by the clouds (not fog).
46 View of the full harbor with the forest island in the back ground.
47 Mia, Dan and Keith outside a small restaurant in Hoonah which served freshly caught Halibut as a dinner and on a pizza.  We tried both and they were delicious!
48 Keith standing on the walk back from Hoonah.
49 Keith in the Forest Nature Tram walk.
50 Johnna in the Forest Nature Tram walk.
51 Keith back on ship, near the pool while still docked.
52 Johnna and Keith at the formal dinner that evening.
53 After the formal dinner, Johnna and Mia organized a surprise birthday cake for both Dan and me.  Our birthday were on the 3rd and 4th.  The waiters and head Maitre'D sang happy birthday.

Ketchikan, Alaska - Sep 12th

54 View of Ketchikan from the top deck of the ship.
55 Another view of the small boat harbor.
56 Grant Lake.  Not seen in the photo, which was interesting, was many dieing and dead Salmon on the shore line.
57 Johnna and Keith on the start of a trail leading along Grant Lake.
58 Johnna standing in front of the Indian clan house at Totem Bight State Park.
59 Keith standing next to another Totem Poll by the clan house.
60 Johnna standing in front of the main Totem Poll courtyard.
61 A view of small waterfall coming off a near by mountain on the south end of Ketchikan before the roads ended.

Inside Passage Cruising to Vancouver, Canada - Sep 13th

Johnna and I sat for hours in front of the ship viewing the beautiful scenery.  Occasionally like other days on the ship, we saw a few whales along with black and white porpoises.

62 At the start of the Inside Passage.  We waited here for a Harbor Pilot to board the ship.  Notice the small house on the island?  We were probably 3 to 4 hours by boat from Vancouver with no other houses seen for about an hour more of cruising in the passage.  It must have been a Canadian Cost Guard station but we didn't see any elaborate governmental type docks or flags flying. 
63 Close up of the house seen in #62 above.  This must have cost millions of dollars to build so far from civilization.
64 View of the Inside Passage.  This was same views for hours, with beautiful mountains guarding the passage.

Vancouver, British Columbia - Sep 14th

65 Cleveland Dam and Salmon Hatchery
66 Keith and Johnna standing near dam and hatchery
67 Keith and Johnna outside a restaurant near the Capilano Suspension Bridge park.
68 View of the base of Grouse Mountain while riding Gondola
69 Keith at the top of the mountain on the Gondola observatory with clouds and mountains in the background.
70 Picture of the two grizzly bear brothers who are in a very large electrified fenced in area for visitors to get very close and view.  They are play fighting in their multi level pond, which is fed by a stream running through the park.
71 Keith and Johnna standing amongst very large tree carvings that run thru Grouse Mountain park.

Vancouver Island, British Columbia - Sep 15th

This was too short of a day, as we drove for around 2 hours to the Vancouver Island Ferry, waited for two hours to board and then an hour and half to arrive on Vancouver Island.  Once there, we drove from one side to other to only be able to view attractions from the streets before catching the last Ferry on the other side to go into the US.  There was still a lot of beautiful sites, future visits need an early start and night stay over.

72 View of our Ferry approaching along with a huge container ship.  Vancouver Island in the far background.
73 The Empress Hotel and inner harbor
74 Legislative Building looking out into the inner harbor
75 Keith and Johnna standing on the dock with the Empress Hotel in background.
76 View of the other side of the inner harbor.
77 View of inner harbor from aboard the US bound Ferry.

Seattle, Washington - Sep 16th

78 View of Seattle Space Needle from freeway as came into town.
79 Keith outside the Museum Of Flight
80 Johnna standing in front of a replica of the Wright brothers plane
81 Mia standing with the large center show room in the background.
82 Johnna and Keith outside of the 1960's Air Force One exhibit
83 Dan in front of the Concorde
84 Mount Rainier from our airplane on the flight up to Alaska, showing its 14,410' height.
85 Keith and Johnna standing in front of the north entrance of Mount Rainier National Park.
86 St Andrews Lake near the top of the mountain drive with a heavy cloud cover descending on us.
87 Photo of lava tubes which illustrate what happens when lava hits ice.
88 Keith outside of Public Market Center
89 Johnna on the street of Market Center
90 Keith and Johnna on the docks near where we all had dinner