Thursday, September 5, 2013

Alaskan Cruise Part 3

Day 8: Train to Denali National Park and Mt. Mckinley

We have docked in Whittier.  We enjoy a last breakfast at the wonderful buffet, and leave the ship to board the train to Denali. Bye bye ship, we are going to miss you.  The train ride is 9 hours. We have a wonderful glass domed train where we can see the beautiful terrain as we go on our way.   Denali National Park encompasses more than 6 million acres (is that a lot or what?).  It is the home of  Mt. Mckinley (also known as Denali) which is the highest mountain peak in North America.

Say Hi to Kathy and Dad one last time.

From the train window as we are leaving Whittier

Princess  has a lodge in Denali and  also in Fairbanks (which is where we travel to next).  The view here at the Princess Lodge in Denali is beautiful.

The warm fireplace in the lodge restaurant.  It is warm and cozy; we have been a little cold up here, so we are sure glad for the fire.

What a wonderful spot to sit, rock peacefully, meditate, pray and look out at the wilderness.

The flowers are unlike anything I have ever seen before, huge, healthy and beautiful.  I believe it must be all the extra sunlight they receive.



Day 9: Touring Denali

We take a tour of the national park.  I am wishing to see bears... but we come up empty in that department.  We are able to see Moose and end up seeing 5 in all.  There are wild blueberries everywhere.  They are ripe and sweet.  I would sure love to have these in Colorado where we live.

Steve especially likes all the private planes coming and going in Alaska.  He has his pilot's license, so his interest is sparked whenever we see them.  They are abundant here.

Day 10: Bus trip to Fairbanks

It has been raining off and on for several days.  We are feeling the cold more here than we have felt so far.  We board the bus for Fairbanks and enjoy a peaceful 2 1/2 hour drive .
The Lodge in Fairbanks is beautiful also.  It sits on the river.   The food is not included in this part of the tour, and we have been spoiled by the ship, so are feeling the loss of those wonderful meals.   :)

Day 11:  Riverboat tour
We take the shuttle to the Riverboat Discovery Tour.  The sun is shining today.  It feels wonderful.  This riverboat tour is exceptional.  I have included a little video of the tour, which really gives you a nice history of this riverboat and what we see along the way.

 Your three-hour cruise will take you into the heart of Alaska and introduce you to a family who has made the rivers of Alaska a way of life for five generations. You will see a bush floatplane takeoff alongside the boat, visit the home and kennels of the late four-time Iditarod winner Susan Butcher and see her champion sled dogs in action. Be immersed into the ancient Athabascan Indian culture when our Alaskan Native Guides take you on a personalized tour of the Chena Indian Village. The Binkley family invites you to experience a slice of Alaskan life!

This is the home of Iditarod Champion Susan Butcher, who passed away in 2006.  Her husband and daughters still train sled dogs here.

We also stop at this Athabascan Indian village.  these girls are native Athabascans; I really like them; they were so sweet, well-spoken and interesting.  They work on this tour in summer and  are back in college in the Fall.

I sure enjoy learning about how the indians and trappers and settlers survived the winters, how they 
ate, grew gardens, stored their food, trapped animals and so on.


Here is a cache where a  all the furs were stored after they are trapped and prepared throughout the winter.

Beautiful Garden, with all kinds of veggies; the cabbage was enormous and rhubarb... well, I don't want to talk about rhubarb anymore(you know I am fighting the rhubarb failure blues right)  hahaha.

Dried Salmon Athabascan Indian way; caught, dried, and smoked.  These particular ones were dried for the dogs; it is how they fed their sled dogs(wouldn't you love to feed your own dogs this way; I think they would be really healthy if they could eat like this)  The better quality fish were dried for their own food through the winter.

After the river tour, we are taken back and fed a wonderful meal.  Miner style.  Each table  is given a dutch oven full of "Miner's Stew" as well as bread, sides and dessert.  We are all hungry, and this hits the spot.  Afterwards, we shop a little and then load up onto the bus where we are taken to our next stop.... another gold tour.  We learn to pan for gold again.  This tour is a little different from the one we went on in Juneau.  and guess what?  Eureka again!!!!!  Dad and Kathy manage to "pan out" a little better if you know what I mean? $35.00 worth for them.  We only hit $15.00.  Oh well... we weren't meant to be gold prosectors I guess. Heehee


This is Klondike Clara (I think she goes by a variety of names... hehehe).  She is actually a veteran gold  prospector.  She has found some amazing pieces.  These will make your eyebrows stand up.  They were the real thing.  She has paid her dues, however, and it is not as easy as it seems to find these kind of chunks....just incase you were thinking that gold prospecting is calling your name... hehehe.

Inside of an old cabin

 View of the river from the Fairbanks Princess Lodge

Day 12: Fly Away Home

Today is our last day.  It has gone very fast.  We  get our bags re-packed, weighed and sent to the airport (they offer that service through Princess Cruises, which is a great help)  We have our carry-ons stored behind the front desk.  We take an excursion into downtown Fairbanks.  We eat lunch at "Big Daddy Barbecue" which happened to have been featured on the show "Drive ins, Diners and Dives".  The food was great.  

Our final good byes, and we fly out of the airport at 9:20 P.M.  from there, to Anchorage, from Anchorage to Denver; from Denver 3 hours south and home. From beginning to end, it is 12 hours, not bad "all things considered".

I hoped you have enjoyed our vacation  tour.  It has been fun putting up all the pictures.  I sure appreciate you stopping by and enjoying with me.  Have a great weekend everyone.


  1. Oh I loved looking at all the pics it makes me homesick and wanting to go back there!! and to funny Anna's middle name is McKinley after the mountain, and My Alpaca's are named Juneau and Whittier hehehehe and then we have Bear and Moose I think you can see the pattern with the way we pick names...~thanks for sharing all these wonderful pictures it was great to visit via your wonderful travel journal ~Love Heather

  2. "sigh" I am not ready for your trip to be over. I kind of meandered through and am shocked it is over already. I wasn't expecting it to be finished but of course happy things must come to a end. So wonderful and I am so happy and thankful you posted and documented it here for us all to read.
    I love your pictures and details. I will be visiting these posts again so I can dream away when I get to feeling like traveling.

    The boys loved looking at your pictures and hearing about your fun!

    I love you
    ~ Marie

  3. What a lovely vacation, your pictures are so beautiful. It is relaxing just looking at them. Someday would love to visit Alaska, especially after seeing the pictures.

    We are in for a warm humid day again, making it hard to get going today. Takes a bit to get back into a routine after going back to work:-)

    Enjoy your weekend,

  4. Dearest Pam. Lovely pictures I had to Pin a couple of them. Alaska is amazing those flowers were huge! But we both know I would freeze to death there :( So glad you had the chance to go. I am still holding out for Hawaii :)
    Goodnight Irene!!
    Blessings and His Favor all the days of your life, Roxy

  5. Okay, I have decided not to show these pictures to Barry. It will make him want to move there even more now, than he all ready does.

    It is just simply stunning! Their lifestyle all the way down to the beauty of Alaska. I just wish it wasn't so darn cold there!

    I can't wait to hear all the fun stories once I see you again!

    Have a fun trip this weekend.

    Be Blessed,

  6. Your pictures were stunning. Almost like you took us all on the trip with you.

    What a trip of a lifetime. Thank you for sharing with your readers

    God Bless!