Thursday, August 23, 2007

take it one day at a time.

Here is the post where I attempt to recreate some bits of our honeymoon. I am pretty pleased with some of these images--in some ways, they do manage to recreate the magic of our trip. I recognize that this is very presumptive of me to state, but I've read about this happening on some of my favorite blogs, and I know this is something that makes others nervous about any form of posting, so I do ask: please do not take any words or images from this blog without permission. I'm generally happy to share with others, provided I'm asked. They're not always good, but they are mine, and that's something.

- DAY ONE: Minneapolis to Seattle, Seattle to Anchorage, Anchorage to Whittier
- DAY TWO: At sea, to Sitka
- DAY THREE: Sitka, Alaska
- DAY FOUR: Juneau, Alaska
- DAY FIVE: Skagway, Alaska
- DAY SIX: Ketchikan, Alaska
- DAY SEVEN: At Sea, Canada Coast
- DAY EIGHT: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada to Phoenix, Phoenix to Minneapolis

Day One: Travel (by plane, bus, and ship)

I felt a little like orphan Annie when we arrived on the ship. I've been on cruises before: Jamaica, the Bahamas, Mexico and Catalina Islands, and Hawaii (this, leaving just one day after the Husband and my first date over eight years ago and the last cruise I'd been on); the Husband has been on none. Still, we both had that sense of wonder as we entered our stateroom, the view from the balcony amazing (the next morning, the ship's naturist telling us about views of a mama bear and her babies, and my flinging the curtain open to see if I could spot them in my contact-less haze), the amount of bars staggering. Everything was tacky--ornate, glittery, plastic. Food was oozing from the edges of every surface, the refuse swept up immediately.

Our day of travel went thus: almost-missed first plane, just barely caught second flight, snapped some photos of the gorgeous mountains below, got onto a long bus ride (over an hour) to the ship, then heave out some exhaustion onto the deck of the ship, where a light drizzle fell. We tried to stay awake long enough to watch the ship slip from the harbor, but we couldn't. It was one our time (I think) and nine theirs, so we clambered into pajamas, clicked out bedside lights, and pulled the heavy curtain tight against the Alaskan sun.

This is the house that the Husband will buy me one day! :) You know, without all the concrete and pavement... maybe in the woods, by the water.

Day Two: At sea, Coast of Alaska

A quiet day, spent reading, exploring the shops, writing postcards, finding out which places are the quietest, the escape from lumbering folks and small, spoiled children (we like kids, just not the extra bratty ones).

Day Three: Sitka, Alaska
Excursion: Wilderness Sea Kayaking Adventure

Our first day back on land. We were still floored by all the beauty we had passed from a distance; now we were able to reach out our hands and press our fingers into the cold, cold water, see sea lions mangling salmon bits and see more salmon leaping, eel grass and conifer trees. I have pictures of bald eagles and what I believe is a crane (egret?), of flowers (of course), and of him.

They call those two person sea kayaks "divorce boats," but we didn't manage much bickering. I began by being nervous at tipping, since the Husband is a bit gangly and I am a bit clumsy. Soon we were immersed in the magic of being out on that water--the eagles peering down from the trees, trying to capture the salmon before the splash (so hard), watching a school of salmon rush beneath our boat. And later, taking a walk to the edge of this artsy town, finding more and more salmon and testing out an underwater digital point and shoot we bought on the ship.

Day Four Pictures: Juneau, Alaska
Excursion: Guide's Choice Hike and Evening Whale Watch
Additionally: Our One Week Weddin
g Anniversary

This day's docking was long, allowing us two adventures and the next day's horseback riding did not require us on the pier until 12:30, so we decided we could go ahead and celebrate that one week anniversary with a bottle of champagne.

A little warning: this one has the most pictures!

We started our day with an early morning, four hour hike up around Mendenhall Glacier in the Tongass National Park (a rainforest, by the way). This was to replace our bike and brew tour, which was cancelled due to the brewery being closed (but they did leave us goodie bags, filled with little brewery paraphenalia, as if we had gone), and I was a little nervous given my happy eating on the cruise combined with my wheezing on our Frontenac camping trip early in the summer (that seems so long ago!). But this trip was perfect--just enough to get my heart thumping, to make me want to pause (but couldn't, not with strangers as companions), and when we did stop, we learned so much about the wildlife (our guide holds a Ph.D in Communications, Emily). Things we saw: the remains of a porcupine, mushrooms, the reflection of the trees in a still pond full of needles, peat moss and many other varieties of moss covering everything, a stellar jay, much Sitka spruce, the glacier (of coures), and black bears. This last is so rare to see, so lucky, and I was only able to get one picture, and it is the fuzziest of all (save when Husband took the camera with our long lens, but I'll spare him that teasing), much like those Bigfoot-spotting pictures, but the thrill and luck of seeing something like this needs showing. I've pointed it out, where Husband is having an Alaskan at the Alaskan with Alaskans.

After the hike, which seemed like enough for the day, we geared up to go whale watching. The ship rents telephoto lenses, and at the Husband's brilliant suggestion, we got one (400mm), and I was blown away by what we saw. After seeing one whale, being thrilled at the quick snaps of vague humps and faraway tails, we came upon a small group of humpback whales, rarely seen together, who were participating int he art of bubble feeding. This is actually a bit of a rare sighting (the guides on the boat we took even admitted this, and what happened afterward, is something they have only seen a few times in their experience)--the whales will gather up a school of fish and will disorient them by blowing a bubble curtain around them. These whales eventually made their way along our boat, causing us much glee, and after, when they went back up (and when you see that striking tail, you know they are going down for a deep dive but will return in a handful of minutes), they breached--one by one. I think there were something like five breaches in a row, with a calf alongside. We also saw some flippers in communication, slapping the surface, and the calf being playful. So lucky to see these things.

Click on the above picture to enlarge and see a fuzzy black bear picture!

Day Five Pictures: Skagway, Alaska
Excursion: Chilkoot Horseback Adventure

This was the one Husband went on to appease me; he's only made claim to being on a horse one time before.

But when my family and I first moved to the Midwest, one of the things my mother did to help my sister Chelsea and I adjust and find contentment was to give us horseback riding lessons. I loved going there on Sunday afternoons, hoping up on Pepper, the slow horse, eventually making my way up to a faster one, learning to canter, to jump, working my way up posts. I road English, which means my body wants to move much differently, and I allowed it, especially since our guide did it too.

We heard stories of grizzlies, one which had been in the area where we mounted up just after we had gone, but we didn't see any. We also heard huskies barking in the distance and a golden retriever leaped around the flat stream bed, making us long for Penelope just a little more. (Our suggestion to Carnival is to have a dog room, since they have all other kinds of themed rooms, and they could have a couple of friendly puppies there for those of us who miss our canine companions on the cruise--we'd be happy to go play and romp and give them lots of loving attention.) The ride itself was slow with only a moment of trotting, which made me a little bummed, but I suppose there were rookies that might not want to be thrashed around as we made our way through muddy trails. My horse, Hercules, had a stone bruise on his hoof, causing him to get reshoed that afternoon and causing him to limp. I wished I could have turned back around to deposit him with his horse friends, grabbed a new stead, galloped to catch up, but something tells me they wouldn't like that and I wouldn't really know what I was doing. Hercules hung in there though. Oh, and Husband's horse was named Doc, which he got a kick out of, as one of his professors in graduate school was called Doc.

Day Six Pictures: Ketchikan, Alaska
Excursion: Zip Lining with Alaska Canopy Adventures

This is the day I wore my pin proudly, the red one that says, "Alaska Canopy Adventures," and I would point to it whenever I wanted a picture of him or wanted the television off, etc. You see, I would never have chosen this excursion for myself, which would depress my teenage self, as I had once desperately wanted to bungee cord jump and sky dive and all of that fling-yourself-into-the-atmosphere stuff. I have chickened out in my old age, but Husband really wanted to do this, so we did. And, as many of you know, I quake at the idea of walking across a rope bridge, let alone swing from one; I found out it isn't the zip lining itself that is terrifying by the waiting, because that is when your imagination and thought process can get you wonky. And I must brag about this, because doing this was so scary for me, but I didn't really hesitate--maybe on that first one, the bunny hill of a ride, but after that, I just went, and it was so nice, the breeze, watching it all go by, thwapping two trees with my feet as I turned around, which I always seemed to do. The guides were so kind and patient.

Day Seven Pictures: At Sea, to Vancouver

Orca and humpback whales making their way past our stateroom balcony, the view, a continual study in varied landscape and beauty. We spent this day wandering about the ship, organizing our suitcases as best we could, gazing out the window, writing last postcards, reading our novels. Mostly, reading in various locations of the ship, finding ourselves sprawled in the Chippendale Library or amongst giant plastic giraffes and gorillas in the Jungle Lounge. (He: The Emperor of Ocean Park; She: Will in the World.) This was a bit of a day of recovery and reflection for us--to watch the rest of it all go by, to ask each other those questions: "Which was your favorite excursion?" and "What would you do again if you could?" (For me--all excursions were wonderful, and I'd try them all again, only I think I'd want the intensity to notch up on all of them, save the zip lining. That one, I'd just get rid of the wait time between lines.)

Day Eight Pictures:

None, as we were too tired and simply traveling, running, standing in line.

And this was our honey-love-moon, which was spent very joyously. The weather was generally overcast, but this was the tendency of Alaska and the temperment of the skies. We didn't mind; we weren't the ones signed up for dog sledding (which our tablemates were, and their excursion was cancelled three times until they finally went rock climbing instead). I'm glad we wound up doing it this way; I know Ireland would have been lovely, as would Maine, or Iceland, or any other geographical spot that blipped across our consideration radar, but this, indeed, was perfect, was wonderful to wake up, swaying, next to the man that is my husband, for us to wander about, nature at the ready, and at night, drink in hand, toasting our future together.

PS: And yes, the primary purpose of these posts are actually for me to look back and remember and also to show close family and friends our adventures, but really, I do not know if I've worked on a post as hard as I have on this one, what with links and whatnot! If you read it all, say hello! I'd love to read some comments after all this! :)


Anonymous said...

Welcome back! You both look rested and happy. Those towel animals are too cute. : )


eireann said...

that first picture of you and r. is so sweet! you both look very happy. :)

and the glaciers

welcome back!

Lizzie said...

I read the whole thing! Excellent recap and amazing photos. That close one of the bald eagle was awesome. I'm glad you had a great time on your honey-love-moon. Welcome back to solid ground and the beginning of your married lives together!


p.s. I'm not on blogger so here's a link to my blog: :)

olympiaway said...

your pictures of alaska are wonderful. i love the photos of the whales and the terrycloth creatures. very cute.

michelle said...

I agree with Eireann - that first picture of you and the hubby is gorgeous and needs to be put in a frame :)

as always I'm jealous of your camera and the pictures you take - they are amazing! (I might have to request prints of some of those nature scenes - beautiful!)

I'm glad you had a lovely time!

Welcome Home!

Love Squalor said...

the mega-picture post! love it! i had so much fun reading about your adventurous week - and so many gorgeous photos (like the rain drops on the leaf).

Sue Blaustein said...

Wow Molly! Amazing pictures....I was just looking at the UW-Milwaukee Adult Ed catalog, trying to decide if I have time for a class in digital photography, and you've tipped the balance in favor.

The sun is out for the first time in a week. We've been breathing more water vapor than air lately. I worked last weekend, and there are so many things I want to get out and do today, I'm paralyzed here at the computer. Need some notebook time and some reading time - at least the 1091 News is done! Hope you're all well.

Sue Blaustein

ck said...

Molly! So many favorites---ripples, horse with character, champagne cork, seals on buoy (sp.?), whale tail, all the close up nature pictures-especially the holey mushrooms, mirror lake, blue glaciers, the ship details and, of course, the joy and calm that seemed to be in every picture of the two of you! Except maybe the one in the climbing harness of you by the tree :) ). I'm happy you both had a wonderful, relaxing time and that you gave yourself the opportunity to stretch your boundaries a little. Sometimes it hurts to stretch, but it always feels better afterwards. Best of luck with the beginning of school!

EWH said...

What an adventurous way to begin your "new" life together. I am envious of the fun you shared. Such wonderful photos to recount your story, as usual. Can't wait to hear your accounts in person.


Anonymous said...

Love this! Looks like you had a magical time!


KeLL said...

I'm so glad you're back! You're honeymoon looked awesome. (I'm tagging along next time!)
I'm really really proud of you for zip lining!

ka said...

WOW, Fantastic photos!!

Your whale photos are incredible.
Thanks for the link!