All posts tagged: Alaska

A Real Life Snow Piercer

Much like the fictional train in the French comic book Snow Piercer, the trains of the White Pass Railroad also had to push through frigid winter conditions. During Alaska’s gold rush they hauled prospectors and everything they needed to survive (at least one ton of supplies) from Skagway to the gold fields in Dawson City. The trains are still operational, running for sightseeing tours.

Hubbard Glacier

When I first saw the Hubbard Glacier from a distance, I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that it is larger than the state of Rhode Island. As the cruise ship I was traveling on drifted closer, the thin stripe at the end of the bay transformed into a stunning expanse of ice. Once we were as close as the ship could get, we came to a stop. I took in all of the gorgeous tones of blue in the ice and water, the quiet occasionally broken by the calving of ice, and exclamations of awe. Looking back on the trip now, it seems like even more of a once in a lifetime experience.

Sailing Disenchantment Bay

Oftentimes, locations are named by the person who first discovered them. They may make sense at first, but as time passes, some of the names bestowed on lands and landmarks lose their meaning and no longer make sense. This is definitely the case for Alaska’s Disenchantment Bay. It was originally named by Italian explorer Alessandro Malaspina in 1792, after he traversed the entire length and discovered that it was not the entrance to the northwest passage. For me, sailing past the snow capped mountains lining Alaska bay before turning into the greenery on either side of Disenchantment Bay was fairytale like. And finding the awe inspiring Hubbard Glacier at the end of the journey was a perfect ending, not disappointing at all.

The Red Dog Saloon

When my husband and I originally visited the Red Dog Saloon in Juneau, Alaska, I took an excessive amount of pictures in a moment of tourist indulgence. Now that going out to eat isn’t even an option I’m happy to have them and look back on the luxury of going out to eat, having a beer, and listening to live music in a restaurant. The restaurant itself has all the appearances of being a goofy tourist trap, but it’s actually a genuine historical fixture in downtown Juneau. Built during Alaska’s mining era, the memorabilia on the walls is genuine, carefully moved and rehung as the restaurant as the restaurant has moved locations several times since opening. One of the most interesting things I learned about tourism in Alaska is that there is a hard shut off in mid fall. For cruise ship stops especially, everything closes down around mid September. The cruise that I was traveling on was the last of the season for Norwegian in Alaska, and most of the employees you see in …

Dolly’s House ( Where Fish and Men Came Upstream to Spawn)

When I visited Creek Street in Ketchikan, Alaska, its raised boardwalk was lined with small shops and packed with tourists jostling for a glimpse of salmon and sea lions in the creeks below. But in the early 1900s when Dollys House first opened for business, Creek Street was a much different place. When Dolly Author decided to quit waitressing and open a brothel in Ketchikan, Alaska, Creek Street was a red light district, known for men disappearing after visiting with prostitutes that roved the streets at night. She bought a little green house in the red light district with the intention of opening a reputable place where men could enjoy female companionship. Her plan worked. Men were willing to pay much more to visit Dolly safely in her one woman brothel instead of risking getting dosed with bad whiskey, robbed, and flipped into the creek by an ill-intentioned streetwalker. Dolly stayed in business until prostitution was outlawed in the 1950s, turning her last trick in her 60s. Dolly designated her home to be a museum …