Days 56, 57: Alaska Bound and Found!

I am writing this post from Juneau Alaska and I am FULL…I am STUFFED! We had a packed day of adventuring and then a good meal at the Twisted Fish. Fish and Chips…it was good but not GREAT. I think they smelled better than they tasted. But nothing else on the menu sounded good…I have had fish and chips on my mind for months and when the time finally came they were just so so. MEH. So one indulgence down…maybe a few more to go?

This trip is off to a wonderful start! We spent yesterday window shopping downtown Juneau and hanging out at the Red Dog Saloon! The Red Dog is the oldest “saloon” in Juneau which is not saying much…there is only 7 miles of road in Juneau and any commercial space is snapped up by businesses selling shirts and crappy jewelry. But its old timey and has swinging saloon doors….its a great place for some DRINKS! We have Duck Farts, Chocolate Cakes, and homemade hard lemonaid. They were DELICIOUS! We had KING CRAB legs for dinner this night and they were the sweetest crab legs I have EVER had. I am assuming its because they were loaded off the boat, frozen, then warmed in our oven in a matter of days but I could be mistaken. Regardless…they were the crab legs dreams are made of…

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Today we visited Mendenhall Glacier and walked out to the falls. It was the perfect day for this…no rain and spotty sunshine. Grady and I were here last in 2010 and the glacier has retreated THOUSANDS of feet in those 4 short years. The ranger today told us that by 2050 it will no longer be visible from the park or visitors center. It is so sad to think that this beautiful spectacle on nature will no longer be around for people to enjoy. By 2100 the glacier will be totally gone…no more. It is hard to imagine something so massive disappearing in such a short amount of time but that is exactly what it was doing. The meltwater and rain has created a HUGE waterfall to the north of the glacier that has crips clean water tumbling downs the rock face. Another Kodak moment brought to humans by Mother Nature! We then toured Glacier Gardens which feature two unique things…uprooted trees that have been shoved back into the earth backwards and turned into planers and a view of all of Juneau that is unparalleled. The owners take blown down tress with the root ball still attached and jam them into the ground with their root balls stickup UP then plant beautiful flowers in the root balls. Begonia’s, Impatiens, Fuchsias, Pansies, you name it it was there hanging beautifully from the upturned root balls of the trees. I have never seen anything like it. They also have roads that go all the way to the top of the mountain and it has the most SPECTACULAR views of all of Juneau. It was unexpected because you can see all of Gastinuea Channel, the body of water that separates Juneau from Douglass Island and the rest of the Inside Passage. The sun was out…the wind had died…you could see for miles. It was just breathtaking. We headed back into town for dinner at the Twisted Fish…the fanciest restaurant in ALL of Juneau! I caved and had Fish and Chips. MEH as I said above. Tonight we are watching a video on the Alaska Gold Rush in anticipation of our arrival in Skagway tomorrow!
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I am VERY excited for Skagway. My great great grandfather was a photographer during the gold rush and took the very famous pictures of the Chillkoot Trail. Thousands and thousands of miners attempted this passage and thousands died. He was there when the avalanche hit that killed hundreds and changed the course of the gold rush itself. His images are hauntingly beautiful…taken on glass plates they have a fog that surrounds them. And his images are used constantly by anyone diving into the history of the gold rush. We do not know much about him personally but his images connect us to a time where his photography changed the time period. I am so excited to walk in his footsteps and see this place that I have only seen in his black and white images. I am excited to feel connected to him and my long passed family.

We have been here two days and have already indulged both days. I had 3 drinks at the Red dog, butter with my crab last night and my fish and chips tonight. Looking back I feel ok about those. How do you NOT have drinks at a Saloon when you parents are picking up the tab? And HOW do you have crab without butter? If I had I think the legs would have woken from the dead and slapped me silly for such an offense. The Fish and Chips were just MEH. I think I am going to ask around if I am ever in a Fish and Chip bind….if the locals are NOT impressed I will SKIP those menu items! These three things have not left me wanting more…they have left me wanting some salad. So good news there. Because we are on my parents boat all the meals she has fixed on board have been on plan and DANG they taste good! She made a 30/10 “bisque” soup for lunch today and it was mouth watering. So creamy, rich and flavorful…without any dairy! I can already tell that it will be hard to make good choices when in port. All the ports of call for private boaters are also ports of call for the cruise ships so the towns are packed with treats of epic proportions. When we at anchorage it will not be an issue…no distractions on board! She and my dad have cleaned out of the boat of all things sugary and holy so that makes it easier! But the ports…not so much. My mom has a scale on board and tomorrow I will weight myself and every day after that. I was hoping to lose two pounds while on this vacation but I am really thinking that maintaining will be JUST fine. Dinners out might be a challenge. When you are there smelling all the deliciousness wafting out of the kitchens makes it hard to say no…especially when nothing else on the menu sounds appealing. Like tonight…the Twisted Fish had salads but NONE sounded good. I am sure they are good but how they described them in the menu created a bland and boring picture in my head. I know understand the importance of the menu…make it interesting and appealing people! And in a seafood town I don’t want anything grown on land…it just doesn’t fit the environment! So tomorrow I will “weight in” and see where I am at and go from there. I just need to really focus on the goal…to not lose fight of what I am doing. It seems easy to forget the plan here and I don’t know if it is because my choices and habits are changing or if it because I am on “vacation mode”. I am hoping it is the first and not the later 🙂 Tomorrow we are 100% on the boat and I will be 100% on plan; it is a 10 hour cruise to Skagway and for the first time I can thank Starbucks for their lack of floating coffee shops. Won’t that be the day…you know they are coming!

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