Friday, September 23, 2016

Ending My Summer Vacation In Alaska

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska. My sister can see part of the glacier from her living room. What a view!
This summer has been absolutely incredible! I spent a few months enjoying time off from a public job. This was the first time in my adult life I have ever done something like this. During that period I marked so much off of my to-do list, Andy was wondering when I was going to take a day off from working and just enjoy myself. Let me assure you, getting things done around the house I've put off for YEARS; spending time with Alli and Aydan, canning, blogging and more allowed me ample time to think and put things in perspective and didn't feel like work. In addition, that time allowed me to start enjoying life again. Never again will I let a job control my life. I've got my priorities straight.


With the goal of minimizing and making life less complicated; with a friend, I opened a booth at a local store with all my goodies I quit using. I'm sure you've noticed I had time to post more Recipes and  Ramblings. Plus, it put me in the frame of mind to look for and find a position that will bring joy and let my creative side shine through! I'll make that announcement public soon.

The best thing of all was the time off allowed me to RELAX and ENJOY a visit with my sister and brother-in-law at their new home in the beautiful state of Alaska. We have been planning this trip since April when my sister made the move 3000 miles away and we both can't wait to go back.
Leaving Salt Lake City, Utah
My husband had never flown in his life but he got broken in well on this excursion. Plane changes in Salt Lake City and Seattle (with an eight-hour layover) and arriving in Juneau a mere 18 hours later after take off in Nashville was a serious reality check. His seat was near the window on each leg of our journey so he could really enjoy the beauty of our country from a different perspective.
Mt. Rainier on the way to Seattle, Washington.
During our eight-hour layover in Seattle; my friend Nancy, whom I  haven't seen in ten years, met us and showed us the sights around this beautiful city.
Andy wouldn't go up in the Space Needle...He'd had enough of heights. You know I had to experience it!
 Sometimes the best photos in life just magically happen. Yes, it was a very long, long day.
I don't think he has seen this picture. (Shhhhhh!)
Nugget Falls with my sister Dawn. Mendenhall Glacier is immediately to the left of these falls.
Even with a late arrival, we were all up early and ready to hit the trails. My brother-in-law graciously had a list of every single place he thought we should visit and eat. The thirty degree temperature change was most welcome after 80+ days over 90 degrees in Tennessee. 
Warnings to be on the look out for bears didn't stop us from hiking the Nugget Falls Trail to get back to the glacier and falls. We experienced a little rain that morning, but after that; we had a remarkable week of cool and sunny weather. The beauty in Alaska is absolutely breathtaking. There is so much of the landscape left unspoiled and we were blessed to take it in.
 Well, you can't say we weren't warned as we started out hiking the Perserverance Trail the next day.
 Andy and Don check out the waterfalls and creek flowing below.

My sister comfortably taking in the view near an extremely steep cliff.
We sure enjoyed visiting Alaska with these two as our tour guides.
On our trip to enjoy the Tracy Arm Fjords, our captain Adam Underwood fished out a huge chunk of glacier ice. After we released it back to the water, I wished we had saved it to break up for our toddies that night.
The water, as we got closer to the glacier, was the most beautiful emerald green or aqua blue depending on how the sun was hitting it. Captain Adam said we were in waters 1000+ feet deep.
Everywhere you looked, there were waterfalls, mountains and incredible scenery. There were no signs of civilization, with the exception of a random tour boat, for the majority of the day. Talk about being unplugged!
Cotton candy blue icebergs were everywhere.
This huge chunk of floating ice was immediately to the right of Sawyer Glacier.
There are no words to describe the beauty of Sawyer Glacier up close.
The vivid blues seen that day are forever etched in my mind.
Captain Adam congratulating Don on his great catch.
Notice this native Alaskan had on a t-shirt and we were all bundled up.
Don's 68 pounder was a keeper! The filets he grilled were delicious!!
Fishing for halibut in 200+ feet of water gave your arms a great workout!
My little ten pound halibut was a mere baby I released back into the water to grow.
We were able to see whales all along our 45 mile journey to Tracy Arm Fjords.
Well, hello there!

Our arrival back to the harbor in Juneau after a day of sightseeing and fishing gave us this incredible view.

You only go around once so why not experience a tram ride straight up the side of Mount Roberts?
Andy took a lot of grief from friends with his "death grip" on the bars.
Cruise ships were coming in and out of the port everyday. This shot shows how steep the incline was.
Thank goodness our guide up the mountain distracted Andy enough to make this climb.
The top item on my bucket list was to view the Northern Lights. To be blessed with viewing them not once, but twice on this trip was more than I could ask for. Every night I looked and hoped and on the third night I saw a faint glimmer of green over Thunder Mountain. The next thirty minutes of viewing the lights dancing across the skies were the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.
Two nights later, we were given another 15 minute show. Not as showy as the previous viewing, but just as glorious with the addition of the clouds.
Watching the sun break the horizon (even through a dirty window) was a beautiful sight to behold as we started our journey back home to Tennessee.
We can't wait to go back!

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