Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Back from Alaska!

We have returned from Alaska - a trip I will NEVER forget! I saw the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen in my life on this trip. I had an incredible time with my husband and my Stampin' Up! friends! The picture above is the Celebrity Infinity as we were boarding in Seattle, Washington. So many things are happening before a ship sets sail, adding to all the excitement!
All of the cruise achievers had this magnet stuck to their doors - a nice welcome! So many of my buddies were on the same floor, so we could stand on our balconies and talk with each other. Ruth Bingle was right next door to me! That made me very happy!
Me and Randy on our first formal night. I had so much fun with my dinner mates Nancy Thompson and Catherine Harwood. I ate more food than I should have, but hey, isn't that what a cruise is for?
In Victoria, Canada, I twisted Randy's arm to experience a "high tea" with me at the famous Empress Hotel. It's something I've always wanted to do - and where better to do it than at The Empress, right? I really enjoyed it. We had tea, of course, with finger sandwiches, scones, and desserts. It was more than I could eat, but I had a super time. These are the gals that had high tea with us - other Stampin' Up! demonstrators, of course!
Pictures from the high tea at The Empress. Those strawberries were huge and so delicious.
Pictures from the high tea at The Empress. The scones were out of this world, and when paired with an orange cream butter and strawberry jam, I was in heaven!
That's me way up there at the top of the stairs! The hotel is covered with ivy and it looks so beautiful. Victoria, Canada is gorgeous! The homes and the scenery are unbelievable, most homes having a view of the ocean and the mountains. I think I could live there, too! Many retired people live there because of the climate, but many young newlyweds are moving in, too! It is quite expensive to live there. The average home goes for around $650,000. The flowers and gardens in Victoria are stunning! Our tour guide told us they have a saying about Victoria: Newlyweds, garden beds, and nearly deads! Ha!
The picture above is Creek Street in Ketchikan, Alaska. The street is made of wood and is on pilings. Set beneath the beautiful snow-covered mountains, it was simply gorgeous and I loved spending time there. I can't imagine what it would be like to wake up every morning to that kind of scenery. Certainly would get your day off to a good start, I would imagine!
The little green house above is the famous Dolly House, which used to be a brothel. I purchased a great watercolor picture of the same picture above. Whenever I travel, my favorite thing to purchase as a souvenir is a watercolor picture of where I've been.
Salmon market in Ketchikan, Alaska.
As we were docked in Ketchikan, this was the scene from our balcony. I enjoyed sitting on my balcony and looking at those snow-covered mountains. It was absolutely gorgeous.
That's a bald eagle on top of that building! We saw LOTS of bald eagles on this trip.
There was really good shopping in Ketchikan and I'm sure they were happy I showed up! I spent a good amount of money there!
The picture above is from the Tracy Arm Fjord. If you EVER have the opportunity to pass through the Tracy Arm Fjord, you must do it. It is, without a doubt, the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen in my life - and it lasted for four hours! You must be on a cruise ship, though, that has a reinforced hull to go through the icebergs or you will miss out on it. It was simply magical - almost felt like we were in a fairytale and that it couldn't be real, but it was. I was awestruck for four hours.
Me and Randy on the back of the ship going through the Tracy Arm Fjord. We stood out there for hours drinking coffee and taking it all in. I would do it again in a heartbeat!
Icebergs in the Tracy Arm Fjord. Yes, they are a beautiful blue! There were hundreds of waterfalls throughout the Tracy Arm Fjord. Waterfalls are a favorite of mine!
We were able to get really close to the Sawyer Glacier in the Tracy Arm Fjord. I have never seen anything like it in my life. It is indescribable. You just have to experience it yourself to feel the majesty. Words fall short.
Passing through the Tracy Arm Fjord. Those are clouds hanging in the air, not fog.
Passing through the Tracy Arm Fjord.
The Red Dog Saloon in Juneau, Alaska. We tried to get in, but it's very popular, and there was a long wait!
One of the excursions we did in Skagway was to canoe up to the face of the Davidson Glacier with my good friend Judy Garza and her husband Pablo. We had to first take a catamaran to get there! This is Judy and Pablo on the catamaran. Isn't she cute with her fur hat? We had a blast with them!
After the canoe trip, we were able to go shopping in Skagway, which turned out to be the best shopping of all. I could have spent hours there. They have a wonderful fudge shop, so you know I was all over that. The fudge was incredible - wish I had bought more! We stopped inside the Red Onion Saloon where Randy had a beer and I had a Margarita. We could see that gorgeous mountain from our table and I had to pinch myself to see if I was really there!
Shopping in Skagway. No matter which way you turn, you are surrounded by incredible mountains. The people in Skagway are so lucky to see that every day.
Me and Randy are all dolled up in our canoeing gear. Behind us is the Sawyer Glacier that we'll be canoeing to.
To get to the canoes, we had to walk a quarter mile through the wilderness. You could smell the fresh pine. It was lovely. We had to be on the lookout for bears, which at first kind of scared me, but then I realized it would be AWESOME to actually see one! We did see a black bear, but it wasn't on this excursion. Pretty cool!
Here is the Davidson Glacier that we canoed up to. It was spectacular to get that close. There were rushing waterfalls nearby that you could hear and there were eagles flying around, too. It was something I'll never forget.
As we were rowing back in our canoes, here's what we could see. All around you is nothing but gorgeous scenery like this. How can anyone question that there's a God?
Scenery on our canoe trip in Skagway. I was sad that my kids weren't here to see all of this beauty. I'm determined to take them there someday. Thank you, Stampin' Up!, for allowing this wonderful trip of a lifetime to happen. I'm one lucky, thankful, and very happy girl! I had a wonderful time and many incredible memories.


dorothy said...

so glad you're home!!! see you tonight!!!!

Stampy said...

What beautiful photos!! Your trip sounds and looks amazing!! Thanks for sharing and welcome back to (hot) Texas.

Pam said...

Penny, it looks just beautiful! Congratulations! You earned it!

Diane Burns said...

Absolutely breath taking. This is the cruise my husband and I want to take if we ever do cruise. I lived in Seattle and loved that area, I can just imagine Alaska is just Seattle on steroids! My mom came to visit and we also went to Victoria to Buchart Gardens and had high tea. She loved it!

Heather Klump said...

So Glad you are back, and with amazing Photos Penny... I love the little green house picture.. I was confused as to what little green house you meant, I was like they all fit in that little house in the center of your picture? (the port o'john) Oh Penny! I WUV YOU. Just funnin' w/you! can't wait to see you in SLC!

Mary Colemon said...

It looks absolutely gorgeous, Penny! I'm so glad you had such a wonderful time. I'm through with school and SO ready for one of your fabulous workshops...welcome back!

-Susan- said...

Penny I love looking at all your photos. I love Alaska! I worked a couple summers in Juneau when I was in High School. My grandparents lived there and I have wonderful memories! I actually have Red Dog Saloon glasses in my cupboard :) How wonderful that you and your hubby got to go on this hard earned trip! So happy for you and thanks for sharing your photos.

Anonymous said...

Fabulous photos. Thank you so much for sharing them with us!

Anonymous said...

Such wonderful photos and I can just hear you sharing these stories! It was so great to get to know you each night at dinner -- what a blast and see you soon at convention. Catherine

Denali said...


I'm a SU demonstrator who is a life-long Alaskan. I am so glad you posted so many pictures and had a great trip.

Your enthusiasm reminds me to appreciate what AK has to offer, rather than what it might be lacking.

I was born and raised in Nome, attended college in Fairbanks, and now live in Anchorage; but I have traveled to Southeast quite a bit and love it during tourist season because it really comes alive. It is also kind of funny to see ALL the shops close as soon as the last ship sets sail.

Thanks for sharing,
Denali Elmore