Being human, whenever we imagine a place that is different, based more on fiction than fact, we create stereotypes of how that place “really” is. For example, upon telling my friends back in Houston, Texas that I would be visiting Alaska, the most common response involved Eskimos. However, when I was in Alaska, Eskimos were maybe the only thing I didn’t see.
Just a week before the trip some nut-head broke into my mom’s desk at work, stealing $850 in cash and several credit cards. Actually a colleague reported seeing a suspicious character adorned with khaki shorts, but failed to file a report. These unfortunate occurrences certainly set off our trip to a stressful start.
My Mom and I left from the Bush Intercontinental Airport en route to Vancouver, British Columbia, from where we would set sail with Holland America Cruise Lines. It was around midnight when we landed, leaving the airport almost completely empty except for the passengers departing from our flight.
Upon our first night on the three-day cruise we had learned a very important lesson, we were not on a “party-ship”. Therefore there would be no towel animals, no random hundred-people conga lines, and definitely no wait for ping pong at one in the morning.
On our first stop, we arrived at Juneau to depart on our first adventure: dog sledding. On our way to the attraction three bear crossed in front of our tour bus, everyone fought for pictures, making the bus rock violently. Many dogs lined our field of vision, but there was one surprise. There wasn’t one Alaskan Husky! I almost doubted these dogs could pull the wait, when our group of 7 suddenly slid across the gravel.
Leaving the ms Volendam for Skagway, we rode the gondola up to hiking trails and an eagle preserve. It was there where we met our fourth bear, which was really exiting even though it was at least 200 yards away. Sadly it looks like a speck in pictures.
We met our tour guide in Skagway along with 35 other vacationers. I was the youngest; my mom the second youngest. We road a two-hour train ride to Whitehorse, Yukon where we watched the Frantic Follies Vaudeville. The next day we followed in the footsteps of the Klondike Gold Rushers to reach, my favorite destination, Dawson City. Here you can find the Downtown Hotel; inside the Sourtoe Cocktail Club. In order to become a member of this prestigious club, you must consume a drink with a real toe in it that has been generously donated from the people of the region!
Next in Eagle, Alaska, our escort was a student who graduated first in his class. Of five! We then boarded a boat which traveled to the great Alaskan Highway. However, we soon left for the town Chicken in which we were stranded for two hours with its population of twelve, because our following bus nearly slid off the mountain.
In Fairbanks, we toured Gold Dredge No. 8, and went gold panning, where each person is guaranteed gold. Sadly, we didn’t find enough to have a necklace like some. This night we stayed up until three to make sure it truly never gets dark during the summer.
The following day we went on the amazing Denali State Park. Onboard the Tundra Wilderness Tour, there were sightings of Grizzlies, Caribou, Dall Sheep, and Mt. McKinley.
To finally end the tour, we arrived in Anchorage via train. Though most went back home, my mom and I stayed another week sightseeing in the wonder of the “Trip of a Lifetime”.
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