Joann R. Arneson



Trip to Alaska


Joann Roark Arneson - Class of 1962

With encouragement from my niece, her mother in law, Gloria Johnson and I planned a cruise to Alaska!  We went on the Norwegian Jewel Sawyer Glacier Cruise.  We flew to Seattle on Friday, August 1, 2014, and set sail on August 2nd for a week on the ship. 


While in Seattle we walked to the Space Needle (we thought $18 was too much for an elevator ride) and walked around the park, found the monorail and rode it to Westlake Center for $1 the senior rate!  


From the center we walked to the Pike Place Market where there was so much to see!



       Vegetables at Pike Place Market


We ate supper and retraced our steps to the Holiday Inn Express.  My feet and Gloria’s knees complained the rest of the night!


We were stopping at four ports.  In our planning we decided on one shore excursion for each port, hoping for some time to explore a little on our own.  After a day at sea we arrived at our first port, Ketchikan, AK.


 Creek Street in Ketchikan, AK


We got to explore the downtown area before our excursion and planned to buy after.  We were going on a float plane to the Misty Fjords National Monument!  Our day was perfect.  The view was awesome.  Our pilot found a small herd of mountain goats that look like dots of pepper in the snow in the picture I have, but they really looked like goats from the plane!  Back in town we were able to walk a bit and find Creek Street where the salmon were running.  We also saw a couple of the many totem poles that were around the town.


Our next stop was Juneau where we went to the Macaulay Salmon Hatchery, then to the Mendenhall Glacier and its visitor center which promotes the “understanding and enjoyment of glacial phenomena” with displays and a short movie: “Landscape of Change”.                                                                    


Then we were off to Liarsville for a Salmon Bake!  Very good!  



Chefs at the Salmon Bake


So good we missed the last bus.  Luckily they did not want to keep us and arranged for a mini bus to leave earlier than planned to get us back to the ship on time!  It was a relief to note we were not the last ones on board!


After leaving Juneau the ship went into the Tracy Arm Fjord.  At the end is the Sawyer Glacier. 

 At Sawyer Glacier


It is a massive, iridescent blue mass of centuries-old ice that calves on the average of once every hour.  We saw and heard it calve three times!  This was the coldest  spot on our trip.


Skagway was our next stop.  One of the most well-known conmen of the 1800’s, Jefferson Randolph “Soapy” Smith, II, operated a number of rackets in the American West for decades.  I mention him because he was from Coweta County, Georgia!  He died in a gunfight in Skagway in 1898.  We took the Yukon Territory Scenic Drive to Carcross, Yukon.  We traveled on the Klondike Highway – the main road.  We made many stops at scenic points.  The Inuksuks (stone structures) were interesting.  They were used for navigation, or markers for travel, fishing places, camps or other reasons.  Back in Skagway we got to shop in town, going to shops owned by locals – even went to the local Hardware Store that had a little of everything.  This was the only time it rained on us!


Back on the ship we had another day at sea before we arrived in Victoria, B.C.  There we boarded a bus for a tour through town to the Butchart Gardens, which are beautiful.  We toured more of the town on the way back.  The Chinatown area had an arch across the street and lanterns decorating the block.  This Chinatown is the largest in Canada and was started in 1858.  The driver stopped at the harbor to allow us time for pictures of the Parliament house, Empress Hotel, and harbor.


The next morning was Saturday and a week had passed.  Would I do it again – yes!  Because there are many things I did not see. 


I have friends who have made four trips and who were there the week before I went.   Ken and Phiny Musgrove showed Bill and Jane Feild a little more of “their” Alaska.  


Bill and Ken are Class of ’61!



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