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Salty's Summer 2018 Alaska Campaign
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Salty Dog
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 2:51 pm    Post subject: Salty's Summer 2018 Alaska Campaign Reply with quote

We are travelling by bus from the Seattle area to Vancouver. There, we board the MS HAL Noordam for a journey northbound. We will sail out of Vancouver Harbor and under the Lions Gate Bridge. Then, we sail up the Inside Passage and pass through The Narrows just north of Fort Campbell, viewing the many hundreds of islands along the way. We will keep a sharp lookout for pirates, whales, eagles, porpoises and other animals.

Our ports of call will be Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay and ultimately our ship will dock in Seward, Alaska. From there we travel inland to visit Anchorage, Denali (Mt. McKinley), and ultimately Fairbanks, AK. Hope we can see the peak of the 20,000 foot tall Mt. McKinley! We will ride a paddle steamer un the Yukon River and will check out Dredge Number 5 in our search for gold.

We are hoping to see large bears, moose, elk and hopefully wolves along the way. I will let you know how it turns out. We have a fine crew assembled and a steady Captain guiding us!
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fleetp
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Be the skipper named Cap'n Flint?
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Rusty Edge
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2018 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alaska is our favorite place to cruise and tour!

What excursions do you have planned at your stops?
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Pirate
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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd have to snuggle up with a Eskimo girl if I went to a cold place like that but then again even if it was in the tropics i'd still find a reason to.
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Rusty Edge
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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Take a good pair of binoculars!
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Salty Dog
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PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2018 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rusty Edge wrote:
Take a good pair of binoculars!


I have a REALLY good pair! I bought them in the 1980's for around $900 and got dealer pricing on them. They are now worth about $1800. They are the Leica 8x32 Trivinid model. They are larger then the "compact" ones and smaller than the "full sized" binos. Made in Germany, of course. They are bulletproof, likely made from two massive crystals. They see into the shadows under trees far away, they see stuff regular ones don't see.

Shore excursions - this time we bought a "package" deal from a local travel agent and it includes excursions in each port. We will get tours of the areas and see the major attractions - in Ketchikan it is the totem pole parks, in Juneau it is the Mendenhall Glacier and in Skagway it is the White Pass. Of course in Skagway I will stop by the Red Onion the famous saloon/brothel to see how it stacks up against the Salty Dog Tavern.

We will take a trip into Denali National Park in a park bus. In Fairbanks we will ride the paddlewheel riverboat and visit Dredge No. 5. In Anchorage we visit the wildlife and cultural museums there. We hope to see a lot of wildlife in Denali since we are early in the year. I want to see Moose, Elk, Grizzlies and Wolves.
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Rusty Edge
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PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2018 6:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice binoculars!

As far as wildlife goes, you will have to keep a sharp lookout, as you said. The nice things about going now-

a) The locals are happy to see tourists again, it's early in the season and they need cash flow.

b) No mosquitoes!

The drawbacks-

The moose are calving and in cover. The Grizzlies are just waking up and coming out of their dens. Both are hard to spot and scarce.

The salmon aren't running most places.

The days are really long. It seemed we had 20 hours of daylight in Fairbanks and 4 hours of twilight. It messed with our sleep cycles.
------------------------------------------

On our late May trip I saw only one moose. It was poking it's head and shoulders out of evergreen saplings, watching us board the train in Anchorage. My wife didn't look fast enough. I'm told that they come into Anchorage to calve, because people deter the predators. Speaking of the Anchorage-Denali- Fairbanks train, I've ridden it twice, loved the scenery, ( even saw all of Denali from it, but never saw wildlife worth mentioning.)

We saw one grizzly bear in late May and it was in Denali park on the park excursion school bus , but at least a mile away. Good to have the binoculars. They are hungry when they wake up, and are usually looking for moose calves.

Black bears were seen from the coaches that took us between trains and lodges. They seem to wake up earlier. My dad saw one on a trail near the parking lot for the Mendenhall glacier.

The streams are full of wildlife when the salmon are running, seals, sea birds, bald eagles, bears. Denali Park has lots of wildlife, too, but you might think of it in terms of acres per animal, rather than animals per acre. It is vast, they add up over the hours. I never saw any elk in Alaska, but there were caribou, sheep, ptarmigan, golden eagles, and moose ( some of the largest in North America, but they are easier to find in late August during the mating season) in the park besides the bears. We saw a wolfe once near the entrance.

The White Pass is the place to look for Rocky Mountain Goats.

I like the high end shopping in Ketchikan. I wish I could see the dredge, please take a picture. Have fun!
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Salty Dog
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PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2018 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I cheated right now, here is a picture I got from the internet, this is the one near Fairbanks

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Rusty Edge
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PostPosted: Sat May 19, 2018 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Still cool! Thanks. I didn't get to see the dredge when I was in Fairbanks, but I did see this genuine steam shovel, which had been used on the Panama Canal before it went to work in Alaska. http://sketchesofalaska.blogspot.com/2012/04/bucyrus-steam-shovel-at-pioneer-park.html
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Salty Dog
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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2018 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We are in Ketchikan now, no surprise it is raining.
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Salty Dog
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2018 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Juneau today. Weather is much better today. We will visit Mendenhall Glacier, drive around the area and visit the Red Dog Saloon.
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Pirate
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 2:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beware of polar bears and Eskimo hookers. Smile
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Salty Dog
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We are packing up the motorhome and heading for a trip. We will be going to the Square Dance campground for two weekends of Aug 3-5 and 17-19 and in between we will drive over to Colorado to visit my older Sister there. Last year we ran into smoke everywhere! Let's hope for no smoke and cooler temperatures this time!
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