Category: Guest Blog

Guest Blog

Guest Blog – Whack and Yak !!!

Yay, how exciting! Catherine supplied another guest blog for our entertainment. Here we go…

July 8th (the day we did the first polar plunge).

Whacking and Yaking Alaska Style
Today the Holmes crew decided to take on the Wilderness “Whack and Yak” challenge…an all day excursion that involved kayaking to a remote location (yes…remoter even than our normal remote) and then “bushwhacking” into the wilderness for a hike.  

Bushwhacking is hiking without any trail – you literally find a hole in the vegetation and start walking.  If you encounter a lake or a cliff or other impenetrable obstacle, you turn around and go a different way.  Our guide had an emergency phone and gps so we weren’t too worried about getting lost!  Having to yell “Hey Bear!” every few seconds was a little more troubling, especially after we stumbled across fresh droppings and “bear sleeping beds” of tamped down grass. In the end, that was as much bear as we saw on our bushwhacking and no one from our party was either lost or eaten!

Our kayaking out was beautiful and easy…we realized later that we were going with the current (more on that when we talk about the return trip…)

Once we were sufficiently remote, we beached our kayaks which made us all really appreciate the easy launcher and helpful hands on the boat.

Tory poses with a giant wall of mussels, and adds her own!

For some reason we have no photographic evidence of our bushwhacking hike – probably too concerned with avoiding bogs and bears.  I do recall eating a lot of wild blueberries and several very sketchy cliff climbs!

After lunch, it was time to try to get back into the kayaks and head alllllllllllllll the way back to the boat. 

Did I mention that we were now heading back against the current?  It was quite a long distance and we were all pretty worn out from our days exercise already.  

It was an awesome day and a great workout but it proved to be my last Whack and Yak although Tory and Mark ventured out again the next week while Olivia and I snorkeled again. 

Thank you, Catherine, for another entertaining look at our adventures.

Click HERE to arrive in Ketchikan, if you can.

Did Someone Say Alaska?

I may, or may not, be working on the photos from the second week of our wonderful 2016 F&F Alaska Adventure. That would be the Friends & Family UnCruise. I’m not going to make any promises, as I have had some false starts in the past. But, you can find a link to a completed report for Week One of our UnCruise Adventure!!! in More Travel Stories.

In reviewing the archives, I came across this gem and wanted to make a special point of resharing it.

The post I linked was the Guest Blog written by Tory about the Alaska Cruise. But she bypassed us and went directly to the UnCruise Blog. Our very own celebrity blogger! I’m so proud.

But when I clicked the link, it didn’t take me to Tory’s post 😞 It linked to current posts in their blog, and I had to search back through, ahem, three years of posts to find Tory’s blog. So, I took screenshots of their blog, and want to share them here. Remember – Tory was only 13 when she wrote her Celebrity Blog. She wrote an amazing piece.

Guest Blog by Natasha

Hi Everybody!!!  Natasha here.  I haven’t been allowed to do a Guest Blog for a long time.  I think they were afraid of what I’d have to say about that pesky Stitch … the interloper in my Princess Life.  But today I have some Really Really Really Important News. I am Seven Years Old today !!! It’s my Birthday. Time to celebrate 🎉.  I’m still waiting for my presents, and cake and ice cream too. I’m sure it is coming. I wanted a new Princess Tiara, but I think they are saving that for Christmas. 

What else can I tell you about me?  I’m still very cute. I like to snuggle and cuddle. What’s that you say, “Am I well behaved?”  Well that depends on your definition of being good. Maybe I do want to jump in people’s laps and kiss them. But what’s wrong with that?  Oh, the barking – well that’s not really my fault. HE starts it …

That’s my brother Stitch … also known as the giant slug. He sleeps a lot.  I get so tired of hearing “awww look at Stitchy, isn’t he cute.”  He’s not freaking cute!  He’s just a sluggo. He only wakes up when someone comes in the driveway so he can start barking. And I am the one who gets in trouble. Sheesh … brothers!


And here is another example.  Notice I am the one at attention, stalking that squirrel on the railing. What is he doing?  Just lounging like usual.  What’s that?  You wanna know what that roll is above my tail?  Don’t worry about it, I’m on a new workout program!






I don’t have much more to say. Except I want to shout out to my Sister Hannah. She sent me my very own Birthday Greeting today. Hey, it’s her birthday too!!! Happy Birthday Hannah.  


Thanks for visiting my Guest Blog!  I want to share a few more pics … of me!  I’m stunning, I know.  These photos were taken before He-who-shall-not-be-named arrived on the scene.  He gets to be in all the photos now cause he’s so cute (confession … he is kinda cute, just not quite as cute as me).


And, we had snow today for my Birthday. I love snow!!!

Guest Blog – Kathy & Steve Go On a Trek & a Skiff Tour

Week 1 Day 6, July 7
The day started with Steve leaving on an adventure to hike a Forest Service trail on George Island to view an old WWII cannon put there in 1942 by the Navy to protect the area. Unfortunately in the process of testing the canon with the 4th test shot a gun mount sheared and the gun jumped back several inches. The gun was out of commission for the rest of the war. Catherine, Mark, Olivia and Tori also did the same tour, but with a different guide.

Luckily Steve returned from his hike adventure in time to join Sharon, Beth & me on our afternoon skiff tour around George Island piloted by Captain Dano. This was a wonderful surprise, we had no idea Dano also piloted skiff tours.

IMG_6112 Dano Sharon Beth RS

As usual it was another sunny day in Alaska and the water was calm. We had a beautiful view of a glacier from out in the skiff.

IMG_6100 Scenery RS

One of the many curious things about nature is plants/trees growing out of rocks, everywhere you looked, you found something surprising

IMG_6108 Tree growing out of rock RS

As we puttered around the island looking at the landscape, the sky, the water, etc. we came upon a short cut through the island. It looked narrow and barely passable, but our able captain piloted us through it with no problem. I have a feeling it wasn’t the first time he’d been through there…

(Thanks, Beth, for sharing these last two photos)

Once on the other side, we had another gorgeous glacier view.

IMG_6109 Glacier scenery RS

The water was gorgeous in some areas.

IMG_6113 Scenery RS

And, oh look, the canon that Steve hiked up to see, even more visible from the water!

IMG_6119 Canon RS

There was a disturbance in the water and suddenly these little fish were everywhere.  There were also seals and some otters in the area.

IMG_6126 Little fish RS

Here’s another shortcut the Captain was considering, but the wind had picked up a bit so we didn’t try it. I think we could have made it!

IMG_6130 We could have made it RS
IMG_6131 We could have made it RS

It certainly was a memorable skiff ride!


Thank you, Kathy for sharing one of your favorite Skiff Rides.  I think we will see some more photos of this ride in a future guest blog … wink, wink.  

Click Here to see what dangers lie in wait for our intrepid travelers. 

Guest Blogs – A Success

Many thanks to our guest bloggers – you are generating lots of interest and sharing fun perspectives.

After reading Mark’s blog, Kathy forwarded these photos to supplement his report. She captured our photo-yakking expedition. Thank you Kathy 🙂


(Still laughing here)

Thanks for providing the comic relief, Kathy!  Click HERE to see more fun stuff. 

Guest Blog: Mark Likes Kayaks!

Today’s guest blog is by Mark.  Thank you Mark, for giving us your thoughts on kayaking – which was very popular with the Holmes family.

The best part of the Alaska cruise was the kayaking and the freedom it allowed you to get into the nooks and crannies of the shoreline. While most of the time my main job was to “play engine” for my co-kayaker, Tory, (and once I even got to be the “engine” for a dual kayak with Sharon), it was still great to be able to go wherever we wanted, and have it be totally silent and still. We could sneak up on seals and eagles, and once we were even able to paddle within about 30 feet of a mother grizzly and her two cubs.

Every excursion off the boat was great, but getting out and getting to exercise and paddle on your own were the highlights of the trip for me.


Thanks. Mark!  A great guest blog. 

Click HERE to read more about our adventures.