I know I had just gotten back from some pretty amazing places in Europe, but after going to Alaska, I definitely have a new favorite place! IT IS BEAUTIFUL! I'm sure you'll agree by the end of this post. Get ready for a shit ton of scenery pics.. MY FAVORITE!
Mom and I flew from Birmingham to Seattle. The airplane seat gods were on my side as I was seated by the window on the Mt. Rainier side! The luck!
Gorgeous! I've got to get back to the Pacific Northwest. Bucket list, fo sho.
The closer we got to landing, the more evergreen trees you could see. It was beautiful, even from the air.
Dad was there in spirit. I pretty sure I had a Dad DC on the way to California as well!
We landed in Seattle, had a couple hour layover, then made it to Juneau by 9pm. I immediately spotted the Northwest Coast art. (I googled to find the right term, and that's all I got).
We found our hotel and settled in for the evening.
The next day, we got out and about to go find some tours. On our way, I spotted a guy, I kid you not, about 60 ft away, and said "MA! I think that guy is wearing an Auburn jacket!". I can spot that orange and blue anywhere. We went over to say "War Eagle!" (as one does), and spoke with them for a bit. They were on one of the cruise ships and had lived in Dothan and now Birmingham. What a coincidence! I love War Eagle moments!
Of course we had to show our Auburn stuff in the pic.
We decided to take the bus to see the Mendenhall Glacier. We were on the tour with about 6 retired people.
We had a guide who told us a bit about Juneau. We stopped at a little scenic view to get some pics.
So many clouds! I love how some just sat right over the city. Fun fact: Did you know Juneau is only accessible by boat or plane? There are no roads that lead to Juneau. Crazy!
Note the heavy duty trashcan. All of them are this way due to the bears! Eek!
Me and ma!
We made it to the glacier! They told us to watch out for bears and to look for eagles, porcupines (!!!), deer, etc. You better believe we kept our eyes peeled for those porcupines.
Does anyone else have a crush on the National Forest font? Just me? ok.
The way you can tell glaciers apart from snow is that they reflect blue.
You could walk right up to the lake.
Had to do it..
There was a trail to walk to Nugget Falls. We didn't have much time after taking a smaller trail, but we walked pretty close to the falls.
You can see the scrapes where the glacier had moved down the rock.
How beautiful! I wish the sky had been a bit clearer.
"I can go anywhere in my hover round!"
I feel like I should submit that pic to hover round to show them how true it is.
Mom adopted my pose.
She was quite the trooper running around in her boot.
Closer to the falls!
Trucking it back to the bus with her boot!
Is there anything cooler than the clouds sitting in the trees?!
The answer is no.
I don't know how there aren't a million wrecks. I couldn't stop staring!
After the glacier, it was time to get some grub. We went to Tracy's King Crab Shack.
Holy hell, look at the size of that thing!
We both had to get our pics with the crabs we caught.
We got the sampler with crab cake, crab legs, and crab bisque. Yum yum! I also got the local root beer on tap. It was delightful!
You're only suppose to get one crab leg with the combo, but they gave us two! Probably for being so chatty with the workers haha.
Eat your heart out, Jameis!
We both had to pose with the food, of course.
Built in tootpick!
We decided to walk around the town a bit after that.
There was a store for the Alaskan Brewing Co, and tours left out of there every few hours. YES PLEASE!
Mom and I were the only ones in the shuttle. Our driver, Ross, told us a little about the town as we drove out to the brewery. For instance, here is the governor's mansion!
Apparently there was a big stink with Sarah Palin, because she didn't want to live here when she was governor.
We made it to the brewery, which was on the edge of town.
After the little presentation was done, you could stay in there and taste how ever many you wanted!! HEAVEN!
One of the brewers. He slapped the hat on my head, but I can't recall/tell what I'm holding..
For some reason, most everyone left the tasting room except for us and a smaller group.
We got to try several of the Alaskan beers. My favorite was/is the Alaskan White. Yummy!
They had beers from all 50 states, and only one measly one from Alabama. Had I known, I would've brought them some Avondale, Good People, Cahaba, and Trim Tab from the good ol' Magic City.
The front room.
There were taps in there too, and guess what?! They continued to fill up my glass! I couldn't tell if that was policy, or if it was because we were having a lovely conversation about college football. Alaska is awesome, y'all.
Ross arrived with our shuttle, and it was time to head back. Of course I had to get some pictures of the tree clouds again!
Since I was feeling good after my 17 tasters, I became BFF with Ross and asked him about karaoke. He told me that there was in fact karaoke at the bar he was going to that evening. We swapped numbers and made plans to go out that night! Again, Alaska is awesome.
It was September 11, so Juneau put this flag in the city center. How nice!
We went into a bunch of different shops downtown. I discovered I'm really good at buying art and spending too much money after a beer tasting. It was too pretty to leave behind! I should've taken pictures of my purchases..
After that, ma and I went to the Red Dog Saloon.
Famous for having Wyatt Earp's gun!
They're also famous for their duck fart shots. Yummy?
It was dead this particular afternoon because all the cruise ships had departed from Juneau.
I had a reindeer sausage. Pretty good, although Binky told us later reindeer sausages usually aren't made from reindeer.
We went back to the hotel, then Ross called to go to karaoke! His friend Curt was with us. We went to the Viking, and they had MARIO KART IN THE BAR! How many times can I say it? Alaska is awesome!
There was a system that could switch from Nintendo to Super Nintendo. How awesome is that?
The bar had scratch offs, so of course I took advantage of a couple of those.
My new besties! Ross on the left, Curt on the right.
Ross sang really well, and we finally got Curt out there. Of course it didn't take much for this to happen:
Pinky out, natch. I sang Bohemian Rhapsody, which should come as no surprise to anyone. I got a standing O and some high fives, so I take that as karaoke success!
So weird to see the Bud sign as Alaska.
Others really got into karaoke as well, like this bar standing singer! So mad I didn't think of that!
I had so much fun! I love meeting new people!
The next day, we went in search of a whale watching tour!
This is the Patsy the Dog statue at the docks. As the story goes, she was a bull terrier who was deaf from birth, but somehow could "hear" when the ships were coming in. Passengers and sailors would give her food, and she became famous in the town. She did this for 13 years before she passed, and they created this statue to commemorate her. The bronze was mixed with dog hair from all over the world before it was cast.
I wish I would've gotten a better shot, but a ship was docking and the area was blocked off.
Mom and I were able to sign up for a whale watching tour that left later that afternoon. We walked around town again before heading out. Juneau's so cute!
Looking like tourists, per usual.
Say what?? Apparently this is a soup kitchen, you guys. Not sure who thought that was a good name.
We took a van out to the docks.
Since Juneau can't be accessed by roads, I'd imagine this is everyone in the town's transportation to get out of the city.
We had great luck and spotted several whales! First up was this large Orca.
It was freezing especially speeding around on the boat deck.
THREE were spotted on one side!
These were humpback whales. So majestic!
You can just barely see the Mendenhall Glacier in the back of this pic below.
We were out there for an hour or two before heading back. And look what was at the dock to greet us!
A bald eagle! These birds are EVERYWHERE in Alaska!
Of course Ma and I gave him a big "War Eagle".
We made friends with these Aussies on our tour, Barry and Suzanne. They were so nice! We swapped cards and whale watching pics once our trips were over.
We went back to the Red Dog Saloon for some afternoon beverages.
This time it was packed, and we almost didn't find a seat! There was a guy playing guitar who was pretty good and told some jokes.
Our Aussie friends walked into the bar shortly after us, and good ol' Barry bought us duck fart shots!
They weren't half bad!
After that, we walked to a restaurant down the street. Of course I had to take some more scenery pics.
We ate at Twisted Fish Co. I was determined to eat as much Alaskan fresh fish as possible! It was delicious! We had some trouble getting a cab back to the hotel, and one of the waiters took us. How nice was that?! He asked us where we were from, and when we said Alabama, he said "War Eagle!". We were shocked (most people think anyone from our state is a Bama fan), and he told us the owner of the restaurant went to Auburn! Small world!
The next morning we woke up bright and early to get on the ferry to go to Skagway and BINKYYYY!
Those clouds! CAN YOU EVEN!? They're right on the water!
We sat in this room surrounded by windows, but there was also a restaurant and a theater room. I slept most of the way (it took about 4 hours), but mom went into this sketchy room to watch a movie haha.
It was another cloudy day.
But there was a break in the clouds in the distance!
We could see Binky from the ship, along with some otters on the bank! Mom had the usual 37 bags to carry haha.
She got it all loaded up though!
The ferry. She was pretty big, probably because she carried several levels of cars down below.
Binky met us at the dock and walked us through town.
Got a pic with the White Pass sign!
Butts. You're not allowed to throw cigs on the ground due to the wood walkways and buildings.
If you want to go shopping in Skagway, here's where you go.
Isn't everything so cute?!
Binky worked here at the Alaskan Fudge shop.
We went to one of Bink's favorite places for lunch, the Station. Note the name of the hotel..
It was Saturday, so we got to drink beer and watch football! Sadly, they didn't have ANY SEC games showing. All Pac-10. Oh well. Auburn had an off weekend, and I had my SportsCenter app out to check scores of other teams.
I got this big plate of deliciousness! Pizza breadsticks! Reminded me of Mama Rosas in Dothan. So so good.
We got all our items settled in Binky's trailer/RV. She rented it from her boss. It was pretty nice and spacious, especially while cramming 3 ladies in there.
We went to check out the fudge shop, then went next door to the Skagway Brewing Co.
We got a flight, then a few more beers.
Binky's friend Alex met up with us, then assisted us in taking touristy pictures :D
That night Binky took me out on the town with her friends! It was the end of the season, so there were all kinds of "end of the year" events. We started at the "disco" bar, but the dancing hadn't started yet.
Ezra, Bink, Alex, moi
Note the shot ski.. it was not my friend. We definitely had too much fun.
We went to a costume party down the street, back to the Station (where we had lunch), then back to the disco bar, which was in full swing when we returned!
Tour de bars of Skagway! Somehow Binky lost her phone along the way which ended up being a big ordeal at the end of the trip.. More on that later.
The next day WAS BEAUTIFUL!!!
We decided this would be the day for the best adventure ever.
TAKING A HELICOPTER TO THE TOP OF A GLACIER!!
We went to where the tour starts to sign up. Since we weren't through a cruise ship, they were going to place us on a tour whenever there was room. The first one was full, so we walked to the trail right up the street to pass the time.
I'm always 127 feet behind because of picture taking and short little legs.
When I see pretty scenery in our country, I want to break out in America songs.
"Ammmerrrriiiiicaaaa! Ammmmmeeerrriiiccaaaa! God shed his grace on theeeeee!"
"From the mountains! To the prairies! To the oceans white with FOOOOAAAMMM!"
God Bless America.
"This land is your land!
This land is my land! ...
… This land was made for you and meeeeee!"
(but for real, I think this one made the card).
We were able to catch the next tour! We sat through a video and were given these sweet ass boots to put over our shoes.
Modeling the new footwear.
They had to weigh us (on a scale in front of people omg embarrassing) and then placed us in the helicopters in certain seats so as to balance out the weight. We stood outside as the previous tour flew in!
Mom and Binky were in a different helicopter than I was, but that was OK because I rode shotgun in the one I was placed in!
I had to selfie to show my flight gear.
Can you believe these views?!?
"FROM THE MOUNTAINSSSS!"
We flew over several glaciers. There are hundreds of them in the mountains.
The mountains that were shaped by glaciers have rounded tops, and those there were not are jagged, like the one below.
I wish the glare wasn't on this one, but it didn't stop me from continuing to sing.
"As I was walking that ribbon of highway, I saw above me that endless skyway! I saw below me that golden valley, this land was made for you and meeeee!"
Below is where two glaciers slid into each other. It looks like driven roads, but it's just how the glacier movement looks.
It was almost like another planet.
Even though they reflect blue, you can really see the silt once you're on top of the glacier.
There were tons of crevices in the glacier. They pronounced it cre-VAHCE, which we found amusing.
You can see them a little below.
Some of them went down super deep.
The pilots told us they had never landed here before. I guess they just pic a place, and it's different every time.
Mom wanted a closer pic of the giant crevice with the waterfall. I was super nervous for anyone to get too close, luckily the pilot had her back.
Can you see how deep this one goes?! Damn nature, you scary!
I could not get enough of this place.
I call this one "Reflections by Binky".
The Rachel pose is contagious.
This is why Binky doesn't get control of the nice camera. Candid shots.
More fam jam pics.
After what seemed like 5 minutes, it was time to go! It was longer than that, I just wanted to stay all day!
More glaciers colliding.
Have you seen anywhere more beautiful?!?
Oh hai Skagway!
After we got back from the most magical experience ever, we went in search of grub.
Bink led us to this little food stand. She got all you can eat crab legs, and boy was she super pumped about it.
Even though ma had to show her how to crack them haha.
After she ate so much she "thought she was gonna puke", Mom came to the rescue.
Barf bag hahaha!
Naturally, we continued being tourists.
Later that afternoon we took the White Pass Yukon Trail train ride.
We passed this cute caboose that's available to rent out for camping.
Once you get to the top of the mountain, you cross over into Canada.
There was a guide who spoke the ride up, then requested everyone switch sides of the car for the ride back down, so everyone would be able to see the glorious views. How nice!
Here's the actual trail below where gold miners traveled in search of gold during the Klondike Gold Rush, which is why this railroad was created.
Creepy bridge built in the 1920s (if I remember correctly). It's a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.
Is this a postcard?!? NO! Y'all, you really can't take a bad picture in Alaska!
A man with the last name Buchanan use to bring boys and girls on trips to Alaska to teach them how to earn and save money. He made them earn part of their way on the trip, then traveled with them throughout this part of the world. Some of the boys returned and painted this to honor him.
Klondike Gold Fields below.
Very nifty experience!
We went back to Binky's to take naps. Mom ended up staying in, but we went to visit with some friends for a bit. We tried to go see the northern lights, the conditions were really good this particular night, but no luck. We stayed out pretty late and drove to the edge of town, but didn't see any. Bink and I went back home and went to sleep afterwards.
The next day we got up and got ready..
Nice hair, ma!
We went zip lining!
Bink was thrilled with my "hang on, look at me!" picture taking.
There was an older gentleman in our group who had the hardest time with the equipment.. on his equipment. hahaha! He was hilarious! I can't remember many of the specifics, but the whole group was cracking up.
That night, we went to burger night, then had a few beers at the Station with Binky's friends.
Mom and I headed out the next day! We got to stop in and see Binky at work. That's her boss Jason, who we turned into an Auburn fan. Brought him a shirt and everything!
Of course we brought back lots of fudge as souvs! It was soooo good!
Since Binky had lost her phone earlier in the trip, we gave her mom's phone so she would have some form of communication. Mom got a new one and got the numbers switched as soon as we got home. It was a big cluster for a bit since Binky didn't have wifi unless she was at the library, but we got everything straightened out.
Another cluster: when we were trying to leave, there was too much fog for a plane to take off. So we waited. We gave the airport our number to call and see if any planes could leave. We walked the trail next to the airport for a bit.
We even went back in town for some food. About 4 hours later, the fog cleared! Yay! This was our trusty ride back to Juneau.
Binky told us of the town tradition where once the last cruise ship of the season pulls away from the dock, the whole town runs down there and MOONS them! hahahaha!
I was a little antsy on this small plane.
But soon enough I was back to singing America songs, and all was well!
Of course we missed our original flight out of Juneau, but we caught another one that evening. We just BARELY missed the flight from Seattle, but we caught the 6am one the next morning (and spent the night in the airport so as not to miss it haha).
This was one of my most favorite trips! Everyone needs to add Alaska to their bucket list. I can't wait to go back!