Hal, the girls and I had the great privilege of taking his mother, Margaret, to Alaska for her 85th
birthday. It was an action-packed week filled with many of the “greatest hits” when cruising through Southeastern Alaska.
If you to have the opportunity to go and see the extraordinary state purchased from Russia for $7MM USD in the 1850s, and you too love natural beauty, here are some of the greatest hits to see:
- Sawyer Glacier
Glaciers are rivers of ice, and they are majestic. We had the unusual fortune of seeing the Southern Sawyer Glacier “calve” (aka: a big piece of ice breaks off) live. We also saw seals lounging and bobbing around the pieces of ice floating around the Sawyer glacier itself.
(Fun Fact: when you see a piece of ice broken off a glacier floating in the area around it, only 10% is visible- 90% is submerged. And the broken off baby bergs “flip” themselves over to maintain homeostasis when that ratio starts to shift. Nature is awesome.)
2. Mendenhall Glacier
Different from Sawyer Glacier, Mendenhall Glacier can be accessed on foot from a trailhead that is very short drive from Juneau. We had the great fun of walking through a rainforest to see Mendenhall Glacier. It was exquisite.
Our journey ended in Ketchikan, where Hal and Audrey did some impressive salmon fishing, and Margaret, Henriette and I had a coastal adventure via small boat that led us past seals, several bald eagles (that mate for life!), the largest assortment of indigenous totem poles in North America and through some sporty waves in the open waters of the Pacific. When I’m 85, I hope I maintain Margaret’s sense of adventure!!
4.Whale Watching in Juneau
Humpback whales get their name from the small hump on their backs between their dorsal fins and tail. All Humpback Whales have tails that are like human finger prints: each being unique to the whale. We saw the famous “Sasha” and “Flame” Humpbacks while sailing outside of Juneau. They are majestic animals whose sheer scale never ceases to amaze me.
This particular pod travels from Maui to Juneau annually, “intermittent fasting” for 6 months out of 12. Awesome creatures. Truly awesome.
Next summer travel hack up to bat: #HackingChicagoSummers