Alaskan Capital: Juneau
We arrived in Juneau early in the morning. After another quick but delicious breakfast, we quickly put on what would become to go to attire, under armour, long sleeve shirt, rain jackets, pants and comfortable walking shoes/boots.
We didn’t have anything planned through the cruise line but have heard about visiting the wonderful Mendenhall Glacier and Nugget Falls. If you have been following our instragram and/or twitter you have probably seen plenty of these pictures, especially the one below.
After asking around, we purchased our tickets from a local vendor (side note: they are all the same price so doesn’t matter where you purchase from). We quickly hopped on the bus and were off to the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center, which was about a 20 minute ride from port. The drivers are very knowledgable about the area and the history that Juneau, Alaska has to offer. Once you arrive to where the bus drops you off its a quick 2 minute walk to the visitor center and the many different trails you can walk around. The trail you want to look out for is the Nugget Falls trail. It is about a 2 mile round trip nature path that surrounds you with the sights and sounds of the Tongass National Forest.
As you get closer to Nugget Falls you can start hearing the water crashing down onto the rocks. The first time you catch a glimpse of it is breathtaking. Just the size of it and height of the falls makes you do a double take. Then you look off to the left and see the massive Mendenhall Glacier. We would have stayed there all day if we could, it was so incredible to experince such an amazing part of nature; a waterfall and glacier right next to each other.
Home of the Gold Rush: Skagway
When we woke up this morning we were slowly coming into port. We got up early because we knew that we were scheduled to meet our tour group just slightly after we docked in port. We ate a quick breakfast and then headed outside. This was a cold morning so we were bundled up pretty good. Just off the port is the the White Pass & Yukon Railroad, which was built in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush. It was probably the most popular excursion taken in Skagway, but we passed because we were going Zip Lining!
Once we met with our tour group it was a 30 minute drive from port to Grizzly Falls. Grizzly Falls has 11 ziplines and 4 suspension bridges. The thrill is amazing! We were ziping through tall trees, over waterfalls and streams of glacier water. Each tour group is divided up into groups of about 6-8 people with 2 instructors per group. After a couple quick test runs on their shortest lines of the day we were off and litereally running off cliffs, doing back flips, front flips, and hanging upside down. You can see some of our ziplining trip in our youtube video!
After our electrifying adventure, we were brought back to downtown Skagway, which consisted of a couple blocks filled with typical port stores and some local eateries. We found a place called Olivia’s Bistro at the Historic Skagway Inn, and how lucky we were we to have found this place! It was the cutest little bistro with the best tasting food, and if you like seafood and tartar sauce you have got to get their fish and chips. They make their tartar sauce in house and it was delicious, we wanted to bottle it up and take it home with us. After having a perfect lunch, we walked back to the ship and got ready for the Hubbard Glacier the next day.
The Hubbard Glacier
The day was finally here, the one we have been waiting for all trip: the Hubbard Glacier! We did arrive a few hours late due to another medical emergency in Skagway which delayed our departure. As we were pulling into Disenchantment Bay, you could start to see the Glacier off into the distance. Then you started slowly seeing some ice floating around the boat. The closer you get, the more there was and the bigger the floating ice got. Eventually we got as close as the captain was able to and/or allowed to. The Hubbard Glacier is the largest tidewater glacier in all of North America and is a tremendous 76 miles long. Take a look for yourself!
We were there for about a little over an hour as the captain turned the ship around so both sides of the ship got their chance to check out the glacier. We saw chunks of ice fall into the bay, which is called calving. Each time piece of the glacier fell into the water it sound like a thunderstorm. While the chunks that fall off may seem small, they are probably the size of a small car each time. Even though are time was cut short we were blown away by another amazing moment on our trip.
The rest of the day was spent at our favorite bar, with our favorite bartenders, followed by a dinner in the main dining room. We were sad to be ending our cruise, but excited to get onto the mainland!