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Thread: Share your experiences, Alaska

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
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    Share your experiences, Alaska

    In celebration of my 5 year clean cancer scan, we've booked a Cruise of the Inland Passage August 2023. Anyone that has done this, share your "Must Do" list or "Must Pack" item. This is a once in a lifetime trip for us and I want to make sure we maximize oour experience.

  2. #2
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    Jul 2007
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    Lisa, first, congrats on good health news! My wife and I did an Inland Passage cruise in 2000, so I'm not sure how up to date any info I can offer will be, but perhaps you could share which ports you'll visit. We went earlier in the year (may or june IIRC) and a lot of folks on the cruise were not well prepared for how cold and blustery it was out on deck. On the other hand, while doing some hiking/biking on the shore stops, shorts and light clothing was in order. If you have a camera with interchangeable lenses, you'll want the longest lens you have or can splurge on.... If you can post your route or ports, I'll try to offer more info.
    --Certainty is the refuge of a small mind--

  3. #3
    Make sure you visit Denali and get to see it with your own eyes. There is nothing like it.

    Have a meal prepared with fresh, real, wild salmon.

    Besides that, just keep your eyes open. You think you know nature in all itís magnificence and size and scale until you visit Alaska. It is to the outdoors as the ocean is to a pond.

  4. #4
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    I have not ridden the inside passage. My mom came up from California on that route once. She till gushes about how pretty all the scenery is, how cold it was in June and how expensive everything was.

    The only things we don't import from Seattle are cabbage and salmon. All that King Crab coming in to Dutch Harbor -> sold to wholesalers by the container load, shipped to Seattle, and then reshipped from distributors in Seattle. King Crab is less expensive in Redding, California and more expensive in Fairbanks.

    Layers will be your friend. Many many layers. Socks with natural fibers, Smart Wool, Darn Tough, I actually have a couple pair made from Alpaca fiber that work well too. You are going to want socks that retain insulating value when wet, and good shoes.

  5. #5
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    Get off the ship and get away from the crowds that are within a couple blocks of the landing points. Getting a just a mile away you'll have a much better feeling for the magnificence of Alaska. Find ways to get away from the tour boat crowds and walk, bike, or just sit and enjoy the wildness that is close at hand almost everywhere in Alaska. Try to book a couple days around your cruise where you can rent a car and go where the tour boats don't land.

  6. #6
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    Mar 2003
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    Congratulations on your milestone, Lisa!!! That's awesome news!

    As to the Alaskan cruise...that's about the ONLY cruise I'd even consider going on and I'll be envious. I'm not a fan of cruises otherwise but it's honestly the best way to see so much of the beauty of Alaska (at least that coastal portion of it) in a reasonable amount of time. Some good advice here so far!
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  7. #7
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    We'll depart from Juneau and have stops at: Colt Island, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Tongas National Forest, Hobart Bay, Kake and Sitka.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa Starr View Post
    In celebration of my 5 year clean cancer scan, we've booked a Cruise of the Inland Passage August 2023. Anyone that has done this, share your "Must Do" list or "Must Pack" item. This is a once in a lifetime trip for us and I want to make sure we maximize oour experience.
    Congrats on the scan - - and the trip! Enjoy. I regularly travelled to Alaska for biz and it is special; the people are undoubtedly the most self-sufficient I have ever met. In the Cook Inlet, mountains rise from sea-level to 9000-10,000ft - right out of the water - straight up (almost). There IS drama in the landscape.

    I've not done the Inland Passage, but have done cruise of Resurrection Bay area. Take VERY warm clothes; the wind off a glacier is bone chilling even in summer. Take rain gear, a good camera & telephoto lens (or at least the 'extra-zoom' external lens for a cellphone camera) for wildlife shots. You will get bored taking pics of bald eagles! They're everywhere. Careful of bears while on foot (bear spray). Watch for moose if driving; if you hit one, it will be in the front seat with you.

    To do: Sorry, this is well north of the panhandle, but if you get this far - Halibut fishing out of Homer, glacier cruise (+whales at right time of year) & Alaska Sealife Center in Seward, see the tidal bore come up the Turnagain Arm of the Cook Inlet, fly fish the Kenai river (bears!).

    I've forgotten the name/location, but visit one of the Iditerod race dog breeders/racers. They love to have the public help condition the pups to humans, and tow you around the yard in a wheeled sled. As they told us, "We love mutts." ...Be a kid for an hour!
    Last edited by Malcolm McLeod; 04-15-2022 at 1:54 PM.

  9. #9
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    Congratulations on the good news! We did the Inside Passage cruise in 2017. Rode Amtrak to Seattle (Empire Builder) and then boarded for the cruise. Loved it. We hit Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan and Victoria British Columbia. Do the whale watching tour at Juneau. Do the Skagway and White River railroad excursion at Skagway. If you don't have a decent digital SLR camera look into getting one. If you book the excursions through the ship if there is any glitches in getting you back they will wait for you. If you do it on your own you are on your own. We got to observe and capture the glacier "calving" and more. It was a great trip. When we returned to Seattle we rented a vehicle and went sight seeing. Mt Hood, Crater Lake, and Oregon Dunes and anything else that caught our eye. It's a great cruise. Next time we will go to Anchorage and go inland but I have cousins there too.

  10. #10
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    Congratulations on your achievement! Iím going on 4 years.
    I was never able to do much sight seeing but I worked at a launch site on Kodiak Island for weeks at a time. Mind boggling natural beauty, and sooo green in the summer.
    Avoid winter!
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  11. #11
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    Sep 2016
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    Consider adding on more days by taking the train from Anchorage to Denali and spending a few days there. The hotel is right across the street from the station at the park. Or fly in on scare air.
    Bill D

    https://www.alaskarailroad.com/ride-...SAAEgLWEvD_BwE

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Alaska
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    Hi Lisa. Congrats on the trip. I have very little experience with the part of the state you will be travelling. I moved to the state in the early 80's, and have still to this day, not travelled the inside passage. It is something I intend to do before I retire and move to the lower 48. I have a good friend in Wrangle and she keeps pestering me to visit her there.

    I can't really help you out with the trip, as I have nothing to offer in way of advise. However, if you want to go interior, should you have time, I can offer some tips. I will however second the idea to take a train into Denali. If you can swing some extra time, do it. I would catch the train at Talkeetna, ride to Denali, stay a couple nights at the lodge then return. The trip between Anchorage and Talkeetna is pretty boring anyway, so you can save a few bucks if you can figure out how to get to Talkeetna. The town of Talkeetna is also fun to visit for a day. Cool hippy vibe in this town, and just so different, it deserves some time to just chill and walk about. Denali is very special. Too much to describe, you have to experience it. My dad had a hunting lodge there for many years, and I spent most of my teen years hiking all over the place.

    Bears: your better off making noise than relying on spray or guns. If you do run into one, and startle it, it will generally take off and leave you be. But, there are some that do the opposite and charge you. (I know three people who have been mauled and lived to talk about it.) If it's within 50' of you, there's no way a human of any skill level and speed will get the spray out and dose a charging bear. I'm quite good with a handgun, and I know I will not take have time to get off a kill shot, or stop it with a round in the shoulder. When I mountain bike in areas where bears are about, I just make noise. I carry a pistol too, but it's for use after the bear has me and I can hopefully, pop a couple rounds up through its jaw into its brain. Either that I eat a bullet.

  13. #13
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    Jan 2018
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    If you stop in Victoria, try to get to Buchart Gardens. Site is a quarry that the owner's wife insisted it be turned into a garden. Spectacular!
    If in Vancouver (my home), I would stay away from Gastown - I love it down there, but too many panhandlers and wackos.
    Tour to Chinatown, see the open air markets.
    If you have time, and can arrange it, the McMillan Conservatory and the crater at "Little Mountain" (actually Queen Elizabeth Park) is a most unusual sight that most ship-bound travellers never get to see.
    I'm a past, full time taxi owner/operator and I used to do guided tours in my home town.
    Congrats on the "clear" diagnosis.
    Young enough to remember doing it;
    Old enough to wish I could do it again.

  14. #14
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    Congrats on the health news Lisa!

    Like Jim Becker, the cruise you are considering is the only one I'd want to go on!
    Ken

  15. #15
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    Jul 2018
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    Georgia
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    congratulations to you Ms Lisa and you too Bruce --two thumbs up!

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