Lou and I were scheduled to go back to Lake Clark National Park, and see the bears in Alaska. We decided we weren’t up to cross country flights yet, even though we are both vaccinated. I have been revisiting our previous Alaska adventures as I update the blog. Things seem to be working fine on the new blog hosting site. I have had to tweak a few things, but the look and functionality should be mostly like it was before I switched in early June. Let me know if you find any issues.
One thing that is noticeably different is how the blog reads on a mobile phone. It shouldn’t require magnifying glasses now. I write and design the blog for viewing on a tablet or laptop, but it is nice to have better functionality for phones.
Some of you may remember the rather detailed travelogue I did about our first UnCruise Adventure to Alaska in 2013, where we UnCruised for three weeks, then visited Denali and Redoubt Bay. I spent many hours writing up that trip, and preparing the photos to make them easy to share. It was even on its own separate blog, and not integrated into our family and friends blog. Over the years, the infrastructure for that blog kind of crumbled – through no fault of my own, some of the links and the photo galleries stopped working. I did learn a lesson – keep it simple and minimize the fancy stuff you add in.
I knew I would lose what was left of my UltraAlaska blog once I switched hosting companies. No worries – I was able to export all of the text and photos into the new site. (It is still a separate blog, but is closely related to this one – dehayes.blog.). The bones of the UltraAlaska blog are the same, but I have had to go through each post and make sure the formatting is right. I have redone the photo galleries, using the built in functionality of wordpress, not requiring any fancy add ons. Here is a slideshow with a sampling of photos from the UltraAlaska trip:
Why would I go to all this trouble for a trip report that is now 8 years old? Because I have OCD, and can’t stand the thought of our photos floating in cyberspace, all jumbled up? Maybe, but mostly it is because I want to keep the UtraAlaska blog up to date and useful. We have shared with friends who are considering a trip to Alaska, and it has been helpful. Travel in Alaska has not changed much in the last 8 years, so the report is still relevant. The main reason, of course, is simply to preserve our memories. I am thoroughly enjoying the process of revisiting each day of that awesome trip.
You can click the link, UltraAlaska, to check out the latest version of that long ago trip. I still appreciate Lou researching and planning the trip as a celebration of my 60th birthday. It really did kickstart our love of Alaska, and now I have a few more travel stories to update! We haven’t given up hope of getting back to Alaska again.
“Happy Alaska Day! On October 18th, 1867, Russia formally transferred the Territory of Alaska to the United States.”
Saturday, 16 July 2016
Our very last morning aboard the Wilderness Discoverer. We were all sad to see our adventures come to an end, but everyone knew it was time to get back to work, to school, and to our pets. I thought Lou was pushing it when he organized a full two weeks on a small ship – turns out he made the right call, and the time was perfect. Long enough to relax, short enough to never get bored.
Here we are cruising into Ketchikan at 7am … we could not have had better travel partners for our family than Kathy and Steve. Always willing to try something new, always ready to laugh, and just a lot of fun to be around.
Now comes the really sad part. It is time to exit the ship, and this time it is for good. No secretly feeling superior like the previous week, when we knew we would be getting back on at the end of the day. Lots of hugs with the crew, and with fellow passengers.
I believe we all headed up to the hotel on the hill – the Cape Fox Lodge, where the kids could grab their luggage and catch transfers to the airport.
The California Crew all had reasonably short flights, compared to the Mainers. The older folks were staying an extra day to rest up for the rigors of the cross country flights.
I think I can speak for all, and say this was a dream vacation. Lou and I were delighted to get to share our previous UnCruise experience, and the wonders of Alaska, with family and friends. Now we just have to figure out when we can all go back again!!! It would also be amazing to have Todd join us.
I would be remiss in not saying how pleased we were with the UnCruise Crew. It was a treat to sail with Captain Dano, and the expedition guides and skiff drivers went out of their way to make the activities work for all fitness levels. The hotel/food service staff were helpful and friendly – being with the same crew for two weeks is a plus. We would definitely sail with UnCruise Adventures again.
This finishes up the story of our Family & Friends UnCruise Adventure. I’ll come back to add some photos from our extra days in Ketchikan (5 years later and I still need to do this!) And, of course, additional commentary from the rest of the travel crew is always welcomed.
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.
Many thanks to Kathy and Catherine for searching their photos to help me out with my missing day.
First, Kathy supplied some more nice scenic shots showing just how beautiful it was cruising through the fjords.
Catherine found a few more from the morning as well, including a few shots from the polar plunge. She also found this one of me. I don’t know how I could have forgotten what looks like my own private Skiff Tour, up close and personal with that waterfall.. Thank you, Catherine, I owe you one 😏
Thanks, gals, for rescuing the day!
Catherine even has some videos.
Thanks again to Kathy and Catherine, for helping to bring our last full day to life! Beth has helped me in earlier sections of the blog as well, but her hard drive crashed so she couldn’t easily check her photos. I’m sure she also had many awesome ones, as she did very well with her new camera. And, of course, Lou always comes through with some classic shots.
It has been a struggle to reconstruct the last day’s journey without minute by minute photos. However, this map gives us a good idea of where we were and where we were going.
We came down the Behm Canal and anchored in Walker Cove. All of this is within Misty Fjords National Monument – a National Monument differs from a National Park in that it protects objects or wilderness areas of cultural, historical, and scientific value. For example, the Statue of Liberty is a National Monument.
Kathy shared these next images, taken after lunch, as we began to travel towards Ketchikan.
And some more from Lou:
This is such a beautiful area. We were feeling fortunate to have had the opportunity to play in Misty Fjords, and to soak up the reflections of the shore line, and grandeur of the fjords.
We woke up – always a good thing – in Walker Cove, a beautiful and serene body of water where the reflections were mesmerizing, especially when the water was totally calm.
My photos for this day have gone missing, but fortunately Lou saved the day by capturing the morning activities. Kathy has supplied some shots from the afternoon, and I’ve got Catherine & Beth scouring their archives.
Perhaps an 8:30am start was too early for these two sleepy heads, but they soon recovered and were off for a long kayak paddle.
It is impossible to capture a photo of all four of the Holmes family looking ahead and smiling: