I had visions of sitting under a warm blue sky feeling the light breeze blow. Well it did not turn out that way. I ended up under a blue sky, but it was colder than I expected. We were on an Alaskan cruise, sailing through snow covered mountains, glaciers, and seeing a variety of wildlife. I thought we would be going on a Caribbean cruise and not to Alaska. I realized it was possible to have a great time on any type of vacation, even if it is not what you expected. Through this cruise, I was able to experience a new culture and environment. I loved visiting a place that was so different from what I thought was normal.
My family went on a seven day Alaskan cruise aboard the Norwegian Pearl. We departed from Seattle and stopped at several ports including Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, and Victoria, Canada. In Juneau, my family hiked down to the Mendenhall Glacier. I could not believe how enormous the glacier was. Juneau seemed more like a tourist town rather than a state capital. In Skagway, my family went on an excursion. The four of us drove in a Jeep wrangler up a very steep and rocky mountain, sometimes in four wheel drive, following an old gold mining trail. Tour guides informed us of the history of the gold rush, and what the miners endured from Skagway to British Columbia, Canada. Just when I thought I had seen most of what Alaska had to offer, our cruise ship spent a whole day cruising through Glacier Bay. We were surrounded by glaciers, and I could not believe there were so many of them. At one point it sounded like thunder, but it was just the glacier “calving”, a piece of ice breaking off and falling into the water. The city of Ketchikan was unique in its own way. My mom and I attended a lumber jack show. Being a lumber jack is not an easy job; they have to be tough to endure the cold temperatures and to chop the wood. Ketchikan is known for salmon fishing, and I was able to see some salmon swim up a stream to spawn. The water was so shallow that I imagined myself as a young Eskimo walking in the water spear fishing. Ketchikan also receives more than eleven feet of rain a year. One Ketchikan native said that there were more car wrecks on sunny days because people do not know how to drive in the sunshine. In Victoria, we walked around the old Historic town, but it did not compare to the Alaskan wilderness. It seemed to be more commercial. Before I knew it the week was over, and we were docked in Seattle!
At first, I was not excited about going on this cruise. I thought Alaska would just be cold and for old folks. But I was wrong. I was able to experience Alaska’s beautiful snow covered mountains, glaciers, whales, and bears. I now appreciate the Alaskans who endure the harsh temperatures year round. Their lifestyle is very different from mine, but I appreciate it. I learned that going to a new place is fun, and I think this will make me want to travel to new places. Right now in Arkansas it is 102 degrees, but in Alaska it is 60 degrees. Now I wish I could be back in Alaska!
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