Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Alaskan Cruise (Wednesday)

Wednesday brought us to Skagway, Alaska. James and I had opted to take a hike with a local touring company.

The hike advertised a train ride and a hike, but it turned out the train ride was only about twenty minutes. We loved the hike. It was so nice to get off the beaten path and away from all the kitschy tourist traps and into a bit of the "wilderness." Most people don't know that Southern Alaska is a temperate rain forest (rain forest and Alaska usually don't bring up the same images), but they get so much moisture that plants grow really well and really dense. The dominate tree is the Sitka pine.

We had a really good time on the hike. The trail was fairly well groomed and pretty easy, so we made it about 2.5 miles in the couple of hours we had to hike. There were a few reasons we stopped, like to drink from a natural spring.

Or to look at the river we were hiking near.

We only saw one bird on the hike. The valley we were in is blocked at one end by a glacier, so animals can only get in the way we did or by coming over the mountains. As a result, there aren't too many in the area.

*See the guy holding his head? He wasn't paying attention to where he was walking and ran smack into the tree just behind us. It had recently fallen during a wind storm and had plenty of clearance for most people and was easy to see along the trail, but he somehow missed it and hit it so hard that it knocked him flat on his back. That was probably the most funny thing we saw on the trip.


While on our hike, the guides had us try various berries that were growing. We ate blueberries and another that was high in protein, but didn't taste so good. What we DIDN'T eat are these red bane berries. Evidently, eat two of these suckers and you're dead. I made sure to check James' pockets before we left to make sure he didn't grab a couple to slip in my salad later in the trip.

After the hike, the train came and picked us up and took us back to Skagway.

We had a few extra hours in Skagway, so we ate lunch (amazing fish and chips) and did the touristy thing.

Including finding the Sarah Palin store.

We got back on board the ship at 4:30 and just relaxed the rest of the evening. We took in the sunset.

And stayed up for the chocoholic bar. Arguably, that was the best food we had on the ship :)

Yes, that is a "life sized" chocolate Yoda.

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