Tuesday, December 21, 2010


         Our trip to Alaska this summer was the trip of a lifetime for us.  I kept a daily journal while on the trip and have just finished writing a blog for each day and illustrating it with our photos on Flickr.
         Don and I each took a lot of digital photos.  We had more than 2000 when we downloaded all of them to the computer.  The fun of digital photos is that you don’t have film to be concerned about buying and developing.  Whenever something catches your eye you can snap away with the camera and what doesn’t work can be deleted later.
         I never dreamed it would take me ‘til Christmas to finish all the blogs, but it has.  Blogs automatically date themselves on the day they are posted, so the dates have nothing to do with the fact that our trip was the end of June and first three days of July. 
         If you want to read the whole story from start to finish I recommend that you skip down to the beginning of this linear story in reverse and work your way back up.  My photostream on Flickr is likewise backwards and at the moment, December 21st 2010,  the ALASKA photos are at the top of my photostream. 
         The ALASKA album of photos off to the side of the page, starts with the first day at the top if you click on that to see them.  Either way, clicking on a photo will bring it up larger.  The photos in the album section are very small otherwise.
         Flickr is a wonderful website of photos by photographers around the world.  You probably have to sign on to see all my photos.  I highly recommend that as it is free and simple to sign up.
         Please enjoy my story and photos and leave comments if you want to.  I enjoy hearing feedback.


To see the best photos we took on our trip,
please look up alicehuntstudio   on Flickr or
 try the link below. (you may have to sign up, it’s free
 and it’s easy and there are so many fun groups of photos to
 see from all over the world I think you will be glad if you do.)

ALASKA DAY 15 Vancouver to Denver to Grand Rapids and Home

         We gathered with our tour group and guide at the designated spot on the ship and waited for our turn to leave.  Our bus was waiting for us and we were off to the Vancouver airport.
         After much waiting in line we were given a very thorough checking by the security people.  To prevent setting off the alarms I took off both barrettes and was holding my long hair up when they decided we all had to be wanded instead of going through the metal detector.  I couldn’t straighten out my arms for the lady because I was holding up my hair with one of them. Then the gilt edged Bible in my suitcase showed up as a suspicious dark rectangle and they halted the line.   All this time I am holding up my hair and waiting to get my barrettes back.  If I let my hair down I will never get it back in the barrettes with out my hairbrush which is packed away who knows where, probably in my checked bag that is already gone!  Oh the trials of long long hair!  Finally the lady wanding me went  over to the ex-ray lady and made her open the bag to see what the dark object was.  After a few minutes of consultation they finally decided that it was just a Bible after all and let us through.  And gave me back my barrettes.
         Up in the air over Vancouver, I began to take photos out the window.  I got some good ones of clouds and the airplane wing and cloud patterns on the earth beneath. 
         We had to change planes in Denver and had a short lay over there.  Our planes departure was delayed because of thunderstorms in the area and there was a long line of planes waiting to take off.  We were finally cleared for takeoff, just before sunset.  As we lifted off we could see a rainbow ahead.  It looked like we were going to fly right through it.  I was able to take a photo of the bright colorful spot in the clouds and also shot some photos of thunderheads and rain with the sunset glowing through.  As we flew past the storms the light faded and my pictures became too grainy to keep.
         As we flew over Iowa around 9:30 local time I began to see tiny bursts of what looked like dandelion puffs beneath us when we were near the towns and cities.  The announcement in the airplane said we were 30,000 feet up and that there were  fireworks displays visible below.  It was Saturday night July 3rd and many towns were doing their 4th of July fireworks displays a day early.
         Eventually we came to a place where the whole ground below was lit up with the lights of communities and then a large solid mass of lights.  I suspected it was Chicago and soon the announcements in the plane confirmed it.  There was a curving line where the lights stopped and all was solid darkness.  That was the biggest clue to me that it was Chicago.  As we continued east I could see this dark curve extending eastward along the Lake Michigan shoreline.  At one point I could see the lighted line of Chicago curving around the whole south end of the lake towards Gary Indiana and actually saw the shoreline of Michigan too.  From our high in the air vantage point we could see Michigan, Chicago and Indiana lights all at the same time.
         We landed in Grand Rapids around 1:00 am.  By the time we found all of our luggage and got in the car it was 2:00.  By 3:00 am we were home and falling asleep.  It was a wonderful trip!

To see more photos of our flight  home, please look up alicehuntstudio   on Flickr or try the link below. (you may have to sign up, it’s free and it’s easy and there are so many fun groups of photos to see from all over the world I think you will be glad if you do.)


         This morning we had a meeting with our tour group to discuss the plans for leaving the ship and riding the bus to the airport in Vancouver.  She gave us instructions about when to put out our luggage and where to meet as a group for our departure.
         We packed our bags again and managed to find room for all the gifts we had bought.  Then we went out side on deck as it was a beautiful day.
         There were many photos to take on this last day at sea.  We were sailing past Canada now and the coastline was dotted with many islands.  The steep hills, or mountains were covered with spruce trees and very green.  The sky and sea were very blue and there were some interesting cloud patterns as well to make the photos interesting.
         We spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the fresh air and sunshine and taking pictures of the beautiful scenery.

To see some of the best photos we took today, please look up alicehuntstudio   on Flickr or try the link below. (you may have to sign up, it’s free and it’s easy and there are so many fun groups of photos to see from all over the world I think you will be glad if you do.)

Sunday, December 19, 2010


We had a leisurely morning, breakfast at the buffet again and back to our cabin where I took some photos so we could remember what a well designed compact little space it was.  The mirrors on opposing walls really made the space seem bigger than it was. We chose to take the inside cabin and use the savings to sign on for more extra excursions.  We were glad we did.
         Our City Tour of Ketchikan began right after lunch.  The first stop was to the fish hatchery where we saw salmon hatching and some live bald eagles that had been injured and were being cared for at the hatchery.  I took photos of a rushing stream that furnished fresh water for the hatchery.  Our guide showed us some wild berry bushes and berries that were ripening.  They looked like raspberries but were bigger and less flavorful.  The natives harvest great quantities of them and the bears love them too.
         Next, our bus took us to a museum that had some very nice exhibits of native art and craft work.  There were totem poles, woven baskets, bead work a stuffed bear and many useful hand made tools. 
         The last place we stopped was an outdoor collection of totem poles that had been brought together and mounted on special posts to preserve them from rotting.  They were lifted above the ground on protective pedestals but you wouldn’t notice unless you knew where to look.
         Back on board the ship there was information hung on  our door about the plans to meet with the tour guide tomorrow to discuss the trip home.  We were all shopped out,  tired and hungry.  We enjoyed another good buffet dinner and a restful evening.

To see photos of Ketchikan, please look up alicehuntstudio   on Flickr or try the link below. (you may have to sign up, it’s free and it’s easy and there are so many fun groups of photos to see from all over the world I think you will be glad if you do.)

Saturday, December 18, 2010


          A rainy morning.  Our activity today began with a catamaran jet boat ride to see whales.  We saw lots of them, and learned that they migrate annually between Alaska and Hawaii.  The whales appeared above water so quickly and dove again before I could get a photo of them with the still camera. I did get some shots of seagulls and sea
lions, and many photos of foggy shoreline with spruce trees.
         After the boat ride we went to see the Mendenhall Glacier.  This glacier was best approached by bus.  The bus took us to a nature center where we saw exhibits about the glacier, wildflowers and a stuffed brown bear and a wolf.  It was all very interesting and educational. 
         We stood in the doorway to the nature center and looked out over the glacier and the lake in front of it. The lake was filled with large chunks of ice that had broken off from the glacier.  There was also a waterfall near the glacier.  It was a rainy day and the fog coming off the glacier made for interesting photos.

To see my best photos of the Mendenhall Glacier and the jet boat cruise, please look up alicehuntstudio   on Flickr or try the link below. (you may have to sign up, it’s free and it’s easy and there are so many fun groups of photos to see from all over the world I think you will be glad if you do.)


Friday, December 17, 2010


         We began the day with a tour of the Jewel Gardens.  I was expecting a botanical garden a bit bigger than this.  I know, I am spoiled having lived near one of the best gardens in the country, The Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis.  Everything seems small and less cared for after hanging out there for several days a year for nine years. 
         They did have some pretty flowers and I took some flower close-ups.  The gardens weren’t much bigger than my own back home, but they did have a feature that mine don’t have.  There was an electric train set up that was pretty amazing. They must put it away  for the winter, but there it was chugging around the track and through the tunnels in the rain.  It was a cute set up and I took several photos. 
         After the guided tour, they served us a nice Tea inside with a good selection of scones and cakes and chocolates.  We found a few more items on our gift list in their shop before boarding the bus to return to the ship. 
         We dropped our purchases off in our cabin before getting on the Street Car Tour.  Skagway is very small and most of the shops are filled with expensive goods for the tourists that come on the cruise ships.  There were lots of jewelry shops featuring the same kinds of things that were in the jewelry shops on board ship.  Then there were some very nice shops selling Alaskan made fine art goods also pricey.  The street car guide was a very theatrical lady in Victorian dress and a big hat with flowers on it.   She was very entertaining as she told us stories of frontier days in Skagway

Again, we returned to the docks where the ship was and waited for the train to pull into the station for our train ride to the top of White Pass.  The cars had large windows, but the lights on the ceiling reflected in them and made it difficult to get pictures so after a few miles I went outside to join a few other passengers. We were in the last car and  could stand on the little porch on the back.  From there we had a clear view of all the scenery behind the train and occasionally off to the side.  Most of the time the left side of the tracks were so close to the mountain and with the speed of the train everything was a blur, but on the right side and straight back there was some spectacular scenery.
I took lots of photos of mountains with railroad tracks. 
         Once we arrived at the pass, the engines did a switch around and came and joined the train at the back.  The train then went back down the mountain and we were in the first car.  I went inside then because the view was blocked and the air was full of diesel smoke.  At one point as we rounded a bend, there was a mother bear with a cub beside the tracks up ahead and I just caught a glimpse of them before they tumbled off to the side to get away from the train. 
         When we reached Skagway again we boarded the ship and walked around a bit and went to the buffet.  There were several other very nice dining rooms on the ship but we enjoyed sampling all the wonderful things on the buffet so much we never did go to any other one.

To see my best photos of Skagway, please look up alicehuntstudio   on Flickr or try the link below. (you may have to sign up, it’s free and it’s easy and there are so many fun groups of photos to see from all over the world I think you will be glad if you do.)

Monday, December 13, 2010


         In the morning when we reached the upper levels where we could see outside we were happy to see blue sky and calm blue water. 
         The weather had cleared and it was going to be a good day for glacier viewing. After a big breakfast at the buffet we put on our warm layers and took our cameras up and outside to take photos.  It was like being in”Blue Heaven”.
         The breeze at the front of the boat was still chilly as the boat was moving and the air was cold in spite of the bright sunshine.
         The plan for the day was to see Glacier Bay.  We also saw Icy Straight.  The captain took us to see an extra glacier today because the weather was so beautiful and we missed seeing the Hubbard glacier yesterday.  According to my notes, we saw Margerie Glacier, Johns Hopkins Glacier and Lamplugh  Glacier.  We also saw whales, a young eagle, seals and sea otters.
         I spent most of the day up on deck in the sunshine taking photos.  Don took a lot of photos too.  I have over 400 photos to select and edit.  The great thing about digital cameras is that you don’t have film to buy and process. You can just click away whenever you see something that looks interesting.  If it doesn’t turn out it is no loss as you can just delete it.  Consequently I take many more photos than I would with the old style film camera.  Photos of blue sky, blue mountains and blue water can start to get repetitious.  But, I LOVE BLUE.
     I have selected 36 of the best photos that tell the story, to put up on Flickr for day 10.
         To see all 36 of my best photos of the fantastic blueness of Glacier Bay,   please look up alicehuntstudio   on Flickr or try the link below. (you may have to sign up, it’s free and it’s easy and there are so many fun groups of photos to see from all over the world I think you will be glad if you do.)

Sunday, December 12, 2010


We awoke to a cold and rainy morning.  After a delicious breakfast buffet, we went to some talks about the glacier we were going to see today.  The naturalist told everyone to go to deck 7 for the best viewing of the glacier.  So everyone was up on deck 7 making it very crowded at the railing.  I walked around and found a great spot on the sports deck.  We saw lots of ice bergs but it was too foggy to see the glacier and the ship eventually turned around.  I took some photos of the icebergs and the fog.  The water was full of chunks of ice and the fog was interesting, but it was not a huge photo day.
We went into the shops on board the ship to look around and we watched the crew build the champaign tower for later in the evening.  I think it was going to be served at midnight or something.  After a big delicious dinner in the buffet dining room, I went back to the room and fell asleep and didn’t wake up until seven the next morning.  I guess after nine full days of traveling I was worn out.

To see all my photos of  fog and icebergs, look up alicehuntstudio   on Flickr or try the link below.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Alaska Day 8 Boarding the Diamond Princess

After breakfast I took a few more photos around the grounds of the Princess Lodge at Kenai where we had been staying for several days.  There were some very pretty flowers and the always spectacular scenery from the deck overlooking the river and the mountains. 
We were to board ship at 11:00 am after a short bus ride.  There weren’t many photo opportunities on the bus as it was raining and raindrops on the windows didn’t make for a good view.  I did get a photo of  the mountains and a glacier valley before we arrived at the tunnel.  The only way to reach Whittier Alaska is to go by railroad tunnel through the mountain.  The tunnel had been modified for use by busses as well as train and I got some interesting shots of that adventure.
After getting checked in to our room on board ship, we had a delicious lunch buffet.  We walked around and explored the ship.  After the emergency drill all passengers had to participate in we went back to the buffet dining room for dinner and ate too much again.  We then explored the ship and took more pictures, attended a Welcome to the Ship Show in the theater, and then found a good dance band and danced for a while before going to our room.

Please leave a comment,  I’d love to hear from you.

To see all the photos for this day:    Look up alicehuntstudio   on Flickr or try the link below.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Alaska Day Seven : Glacier Cruise

We boarded busses for Kenai Fjords National Park Glacier Cruise at 9:15 am.
There was a big gift shop at the docks and I bought some more Alaska Christmas and birthday gifts before boarding the boat.  I took photos of the harbor and all the boats at the docks while I waited for the cruise to begin.   Once we were out to sea there we photo opportunities every minute.  We saw lots of wildlife.  Sea otters, stellar sea lions, seagulls, a humpback whale, dall porpoises, puffins, cormorants, common murre (they looked like penguins) , bald eagles, and so much beautiful scenery of rocky shores and spruce trees.  Always the spruce trees.  We watched the glacier “calving”.  I learned that I could not capture either whales surfacing, or glaciers calving with my still camera so I held the video camera in one hand and aimed it in the direction of the possible action and just let it run while I snapped still shots with the other.  Does that make me a crazy photographer?  or just a crazy tourist?  The cruise lasted most of the day and the crew came around serving chicken wrap sandwiches for lunch.  Later in the day after we had all been outside in the cold watching the glacier they made fresh hot chocolate chip cookies.  It was a rainy misty day with no sun,  and being close to the glacier with all that ice,  it was very cold and damp outside on the deck of the boat.

To see all my photos of rocks and spruce, ice and wildlife:    Look up alicehuntstudio   on Flickr or try the link below.