Summer is heavy this week. The weather has been warmer and more humid than usual and we have been on the go since before Alaska. The kids stay up well past bedtime, snuggled on the couch after baths and showers and we don’t set an alarm before bed. The house starts to fill with cool air from the bay breeze. I’m having a hard time grasping a familiar sense of home right now. We’re going on another trip soon and shortly after Aiden will start 5th grade. It seems like yesterday we were on a mad-dash road trip before he started first. Before I know it we will be back into the usual routine, waiting for our next adventure to come along.
What do you enjoy most about Summer?
A portrait of my child once a week, every week in 2014. To see the whole series, click here.
This Travel Light post is very near and dear to me, as I live about 10 minutes away from San Jose, California. The weather varies in the summer and ranges anywhere from a balmy 90F to a comfortable 75F.
A couple of years ago I attended a BlogHer conference a couple of years ago and was unsure of what to pack. I feel like I have a better grasp on packing and blogging conferences now so I put together a Travel Light post for those who might feel a little lost. For those staying extra days, this will come in handy, and for those who aren’t, pay close attention to Days 4-6. Hopefully this will free up some space in your luggage for any goodies you plan to bring home.
Day 9 Post-Conference Meetings Day 10 Head home
Some other items that I like to pack are more obvious: Phone - This is a given. iPad – For browsing / checking in on blog. Camera(s) – I use a different one at night. Chargers & battery backups – Yet another given. Notebooks – I like to take notes by hand. Pens / Pencils – I like options. Business Cards / Holder - I keep a box in my purse and holder in hand.
Some highlights from the last BlogHer I attended. Left to Right: Kudos! / Nancy + I / Kelle Hampton + I / The Marble Room in San Diego, California
For two days straight the only view we had was dense fog. We couldn’t see the horizon, and for 24 hours before our arrival, the fog horn blew at even increments. We couldn’t even see the bridge from our balcony, which had become a familiar sight throughout our trip. It made me feel lost. I kept missing the updates on the TV and intercom about our location but knew that we must be somewhere between Canada and San Francisco, California.
Aiden and I were lucky enough to visit the bridge and meet the Captain. It was a really cool experience. They explained how they navigate the ship and gave details about all of the controls and instruments they use. Aiden wasn’t feeling well so we cut our tour short. He laid down most of the day.
During the last evening we were rewarded with a small sliver of sunshine. It was a good sign, we were almost home. Aiden attended a pajama party at a place he fell in love with on the ship, the kids club. He went there during a few days at sea to get a break from Søren and to play with kids his own age. It also gave us a chance to have quiet time while we took a mid-day nap with Søren.
On Day 12 I woke up early. The sliding glass door was open and my husband was snapping away outside as we came into San Francisco. I was so exhausted that I didn’t bother to look. just rolled over and went back to sleep. We awoke later, had breakfast, and hung around our disembarkation lounge until it was our turn to leave the ship. Once off we gathered our things and took the train home.
The waves broke against the bow of our ship and long gone were those glassy Alaskan waters. Even with the rough seas it was relaxing to spend a much-needed day at sea. We spent the day exploring the ship, winding down, catching up on work. Our ship was headed southbound, towards the town of Victoria on Vancouver Island, a part of British Colombia, Canada.
This was our last port-of-call and there was ample time to explore. We only had one tour booked and time to kill beforehand so we went to explore the breakwater. The boys had a lot of fun walking all the way to the end and back before boarding a double decker sightseeing bus. Once on the bus we rode around the city, passing Beacon Hill park, the World’s Tallest Totem pole, the British Colombia Legislature Building, The Fairmont Empress Hotel, Canada’s Narrowest Street (Fan Tan Alley), and many other points of interest. Rounding the corner near Uplands Golf Club, we slowed to view a Bald Eagle, perched above it’s nest in a tree. To finish the tour we rode around the coastal perimeter of the city, returning to our start point a couple of hours later.
It was only mid-day and the weather was beautiful. We grabbed a quick bite for lunch and made the 40 minute walk into town to get a better view of some of the sights we saw from the bus. The boys played at a local park. Søren napped for hours in the stroller, still not fully recovered from his fever at sea. We spent the rest of the day wandering the city, finally able to feel our travel legs.
Stopping in Vancouver Island was an emotional build up for me. This day I wore a very special necklace, purchased 20 years prior on one of the trips to Sydney with my Grandparents. I have so many fond memories of starfish on the rocks in the harbor and visiting the rock shop. I’m so happy to have been able to take our children to the very same island I visited so often as a child.
Do you have any questions about cruising? I plan to answer them in my Cruise Review post next week, ask away!
Every morning I wake up somewhere new. This morning we awoke in Glacier Bay National Park, the Grand Pacific Glacier and all of it’s sedimental glory staring into our window. It was raining again. Søren felt warm. I wasn’t impressed so Steve and Aiden went to grab breakfast while I stayed with Søren. Steve returned shortly, “You should take your camera to the top”.
I threw on some clothes and the ship began to rotate. Tall mountains made their way across the window until the stunning 350ft tall Margerie Glacier was in full view. This is what I was waiting for. I couldn’t hear the announcements very well so I stepped onto the balcony to snap some photos. A smaller boat was near the glacier and seagulls swarmed for everyone’s breakfast. A powerful rumble broke through the crisp air as part of the glacier broke off into the bay. This happened several more times while we were viewing the Margerie. The boys returned and I went to grab breakfast, too excited to shower.
We began to navigate out of the Tarr Inlet, passing several large chunks of striped ice as we made our way through the fjords. Turning the corner, we entered the Johns Hopkins inlet. The Johns Hopkins Glacier spread out in the distance. For safety reasons the ship could not get any closer, but stopped to view the Lamplugh Glacier. A river made it’s way through the center of the glacier, escaping into the fjord through a cave near the center of the glacier. An even smaller raft-style boat approaches the glacier, giving it some scale. The Lampugh has more visible sediment than the Margarie but I appreciate their beauty equally.
I spend the rest of the day tending to Søren’s fever as the ship navigates out of Glacier Bay and begins our journey south.
I have to apologize that my 52 weeks series had to go a little out of order because of our last trip. These photos are from one the last nights on our cruise. The water was a little rough on the way back down, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying my favorite part of a cruise, formal night. How could I resist seeing three of the most handsome men I know in formal attire?
A portrait of my child once a week, every week in 2014. To see the whole series, click here.
The view this morning was different. The air was crisp and clear. For the first time in what seemed like forever, it wasn’t raining. I walked out onto the balcony and in front of me was the side of a rocky mountain, covered in paintings of maritime flags of various ships and lines who had previously been in today’s port of Skagway, Alaska.
We had another early outing planned so we hurried with breakfast and headed off the ship. Next to the ship was a vintage train run by White Pass Yukon Railroad. We boarded and found our seats. Once everyone was settled in the train started down the trains, headed for the top of White Pass Summit. On the way up we learned that the town of Skagway was known for being the Gateway to the Klondike Gold Rush in 1898. The mountains towered over us, some topped with glaciers. One dubbed, “Saw Tooth Mountain” was particularly beautiful. Stepping outside of the vintage railcar gave unsurpassed views of the Alaskan wilderness. The wind blew my hair and I held the side rails tight as the train curved around countless cliffs and over trestles and bridges. We passed Dead Horse Gulch, Bridal Veil Falls, and the original Trail of ’98 before reaching the summit. In just 20 miles we had climbed 3000 feet and barely crossed the border into British Colombia.
The train turned around and began it’s descent. It was interesting to me that the views on the way back seemed so different considering it was all the same scenery as on the way up. All that changed was our perspective and a chance for a second look. This was one of the rougher outings for Søren. He was very interested in the tunnels and my camera and nothing else. He was restless for most of the 2 and a half hour trip so Steve and I took turns keeping him calm. The magic “toys” were my camera, a wrench, and a talking Toby from Thomas the train.
By the time we arrived back at the dock in Skagway Søren and Steve were both exhausted. I was too but didn’t want to let another port slip by unexplored. Aiden and I finished our lunch quickly and headed back off the ship. The quarter-mile walk to town took ten minutes by foot. The town was much smaller than our earlier ports of Juneau and Ketchikan. What strikes me so odd about these little towns is that their population is so low compared to the crowds of people who come off of the cruise ships during the summer. I wonder what it would be like when the towns are not full of happy-go-lucky cruisers? I’m glad that we ate on the ship because in passing I heard the wait time at a couple of cafe’s was 45 minutes to an hour. We walked until our feet told us it was time to head back.
It was near sunset when the horn blew and we headed for our next destination, cruising by the town of Haines, Alaska on the way out.