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Monday, June 22, 2015

{Trip Report} Juneau Icefield

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend, and celebrated the baby-daddies in your life. Yesterday was our 17th wedding anniversary, as well, so it was doubly special celebrating Mr. SP's vital role in our lives.

He used to be a professional musician, so traveling was a big part of our life. In fact, our love of exploring the world, and how well we traveled together, was one of the reasons I knew he was the one for me. Our list of adventures is long, but dog-sledding on a glacier in Alaska is definitely at the top!

Hi Sugarplum | Trip Report: Juneau Icefield



Juneau, the capital city of Alaska, was our second port of the Princess cruise. But there was nothing bustling about this sleepy little town. In fact, there are no roads connecting the city to the rest of Alaska, or North America! It's nestled at the base of Mount Juneau, and like Ketchikan, is surrounded by breathtaking, majestic beauty.

Hi Sugarplum | Trip Report: Juneau Icefield

Hi Sugarplum | Trip Report: Juneau Icefield

Hi Sugarplum | Trip Report: Juneau Icefield

We had a few hours before our scheduled excursion, so we wandered the town, and hiked a nearby waterfall. Mr. SP has a thing for waterfalls. And southern blondes.

Hi Sugarplum | Trip Report: Juneau Icefield

We were surprised by the mild temperatures and lush landscape growing everywhere. Not exactly the Alaska stereotype I had in my mind.

Hi Sugarplum | Trip Report: Juneau Icefield

Hi Sugarplum | Trip Report: Juneau Icefield

Pictures don't come close to showing how stunning this place is...nor how grand. Mountains and trees tower and soar to the sky everywhere you look. To give you an idea of scale, note how small our 17-story tall cruise ship looks (at the base of the middle mountain) in this picture I snapped while taking off in the helicopter.

Hi Sugarplum | Trip Report: Juneau Icefield

That's right....helicopter!! Our excursion was a tour of the Juneau Icefield by air, then we landed on the Mendenhall Glacier for dog-sledding! #canyoueven

Hi Sugarplum | Trip Report: Juneau Icefield

Again, my photos don't begin to show the scale...but you could easily park a school bus in each of these ice crevasses.

Hi Sugarplum | Trip Report: Juneau Icefield

Glacier ice is the most magnificent shade of blue...especially when melted...and even though it was a cloudy day, it was blindingly bright on the glacier.

Hi Sugarplum | Trip Report: Juneau Icefield

I had some reservations about dog-sledding....I was worried I'd feel bad for them being tied up and forced to drag us lazy humans around. But the moment we landed at base camp, it was obvious these Alaskan Huskies are born to run...they were literally begging to be harnessed for their turn on the track. In fact, any time the sled stopped, they'd all strain and leap, while barking and howling to get going again.

Hi Sugarplum | Trip Report: Juneau Icefield

They were smaller than I expected...ranging from 45-70 pounds...and though most were sweet, there was a definite 'wildness' to them...almost wolf-like, with thick, course coats to withstand Winters in Alaska, and the long, 1000 mile Iditarod race.

Hi Sugarplum | Trip Report: Juneau Icefield

Hi Sugarplum | Trip Report: Juneau Icefield
Glacier boots provided by excursion company

Twenty mushers live in tents at the camp for five straight months, (with no electricity, plumbing, or running water) training and caring for the nearly 300 dogs! Supplies are brought up on the helicopters, and mushers are flown to 'town' once a week to shower. #canyoueven

Hi Sugarplum | Trip Report: Juneau Icefield

Hi Sugarplum | Trip Report: Juneau Icefield

The dogs pulled us in the sled, then we took turns in the driving position....I think we all had perm-grins the entire afternoon.

Hi Sugarplum | Trip Report: Juneau Icefield

Hi Sugarplum | Trip Report: Juneau Icefield

Hi Sugarplum | Trip Report: Juneau Icefield

Note the sled with 12 dogs and 5 people in the middle of this pic....see what I mean about grand scale?!

Hi Sugarplum | Trip Report: Juneau Icefield

Hi Sugarplum | Trip Report: Juneau Icefield

Hi Sugarplum | Trip Report: Juneau Icefield

Hi Sugarplum | Trip Report: Juneau Icefield

After the flight back, we boarded the ship and watched the lights of Juneau grow smaller from the top deck, before dressing for dinner.

Hi Sugarplum | Trip Report: Juneau Icefield

Definitely not a day we'll ever forget! The 'Bucket List' type excursions are pricey, but absolutely make the trip. Is Alaska on your Bucket List yet?

I've got a few more recaps planned from the trip, along with a packing list, but feel free to ask any questions about cruising Alaska in the comments, and I'll answer them in a future post!

{More Alaska posts}

23 comments:

  1. What a fun adventure! It all looks beautiful and just picture perfect.

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  2. This looks incredible…a true adventure! Alaska is definitely on my bucket list and moving higher after seeing these images!

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  3. wow. stuning. once in a lifetime experience.

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  4. Gorgeous pictures! I have a question for the upcoming post--what is the kiddo situation like on Princess? We've Disney cruised before but I'm obviously not expecting the same type of experience. Just wondering if this is more of a couples-only cruise line and what the age range of kids are. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Just wanted to say that I have been on this same cruise on a Princess and we had our then 8-year-old son with us. He loved it. They have a "kid zone" that is broken into two age groups (younger kids and older kids) and activities appropriate to each group. You have to sign your kids in and out for security. There were times when we had to force him to come with us since he had so much fun there!

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  5. There are just no words to describe those pictures, so I won't even try...

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  6. just amazing! my folks want to go back so bad - i'll have to tell them about this excursion! were yall able to see the N'ern lights? that is the #1 bucket list item of my life! happy anniversary!

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  7. Cassie, I have wanted to explore Alaska for a while now. I took my first ever cruise to the eastern Caribbean this spring and LOVED IT! Your post has sealed the deal! Thanks for all the tips and beautiful photos! Can't wait for the next set. :)

    www.erinkrobison.com

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  8. Looks like y'all had a fabulous time! Such beautiful scenery!

    I know this is super random, but do you ever listen to the podcast "This American Life"? Well, they had a segment on their "Game Face" episode a few weeks ago about mushers on an Alaskan glacier. It's a behind the scenes look of sorts. Check it out when you get a chance. www.thisamericanlife.org

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  9. I also want to hear if you would bring kids ages 8 and up or if it is more of a couples trip? Also, how was the ship? Was the food excellent or just average? Are the rooms claustrophobic? Thanks so much!!!

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  10. I was lucky enough to spend 6 weeks in Alaska in June/July 1994 while I was working on a cruise ship. Our cruises were 7 days long and we began in Juneau and went to Skagway, Haines, Sitka and Baranoff Island. We were fairly lucky that most of the times we were docked we were able to explore the cities. I didn't have very many opportunities to do excursions, but I absolutely loved the time I spent there. I would love to go back as a passenger.

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  11. ahhh looks SO cool! literally ;) but i'd love to go! xo jillian - cornflake dreams

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  12. I am looking to do this trip next year for our anniversary. Are these excursions extra from the cruise? How much do they cost? Also is the boat very crowded where it takes a long time to get into dinner, show, amenities in general? It looks beautiful

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  13. I was just about to comment about the "This American Life" podcast as well! You should listen to that episode given your recent adventure.

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  14. Oh my gosh I'm dying over these pictures!! What an amazing adventure...and you look as precious as can be.

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  15. Another comment to recommend This American Life's Game Face. It was super interesting!

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  16. Alaska is definitely on my bucket list now! The blue of that ice! Thanks for sharing your experience!

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  17. An Alaskan cruise has been on my bucket list for a long time, but I'm definitely moving it up to the top. Those big mountains are all me. Can't wait to make this happen!

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  18. Stunning photos doll! And you wear winter weather well! Only you could be so stinkin' cute in the cold. Guess that means you have no more excuses not to visit me next winter! ;)

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  19. As if I needed another reason to adore you, I see you're wearing a TCU hat! I'm a TCU alum too :) Go Frogs! Absolutely love your blog!

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Your comments are like popcorn with milk duds, I just can't quit them. Thanks for taking the time to share your positive thoughts! xoxo, cass

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