To many, Alaska is that snowy wilderness where igloo-dwelling Eskimos hunt Beluga whales, Bigfoot makes special appearances and penguins dance to a merry tune. Truth be told, when I was packing my bags for a seven-day Alaskan cruise, I secretly wished to see at least one, if not all of the above.
Via Tracy Arm Fjord...
An hour later, we were flying low over the misty Fjords in a seaplane, taking in cedar forests, snow-capped peaks, waterfalls bouncing off granite cliffs, and rivers snaking along deep valleys. Little white dots of grazing mountain goats became visible as the plane dipped and landed on a placid lake.
Back on the cruise, my first sight the next day was an iceberg floating by the cabin balcony. We hadn’t crashed! We were merely passing the iceberg country of Tracy Arm Fjord. You could spot shiny black seals, sea lions, albatrosses and seagulls sunbathing on the bergs.
The capital of Alaska is small, but a beehive of shore activities. The star attraction is the Mendenhall Glacier, offering hiking, rafting, fishing and the absolutely unmissable dog-sled rides. You can watch humpback whales, sight a nesting bald eagle high up on a mountain top, or spot a grizzly lounging along the water’s edge.
A good way to wind up is to toast to new friends over generous pours of ale at the Alaska Brewing Company. Or, like me, digging into a hearty crab cakes and hot Alaskan Toddy at Taku Glacier Lodge.
Goodbyes are tough, and leaving the shores of Alaska is the toughest, even with a grand dinner of native Alaskan dishes like stewed Alaskan king crab, poached sockeye salmon, rock lobster and sea scallops. My Alaskan dream just came true. But as I disembark, a wicked thought creeps into my head: If a dream comes true, do you stop dreaming it?
With Alaska, you won’t be able to stop.
From HT Brunch, August 16
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