We're in our first port of call: Ketchikan. Today, the boys are going fishing for salmon while the girls are going on a Jeep adventure. Whoohoo!
First up, the girls' tour. We hop on our tour bus for a quick ride to the Jeep barn to meet our tour guides. They divide our big group into two smaller groups. Half of us will start out with the canoe ride while the other half will start out off-roading in the Jeeps. We head out with our tour guide Brian on a bus ride through the Tungass National Rain Forest - yep, it's a rain forest b/c they get upwards of 13.5 feet of rain each year - to meet up with our canoes on Lake Harriet Hunt. Once there, we get geared up in some sexy parkas & life vests before loading up in the canoe - the whole group in one canoe, mind you! Brian took a liking to our little girly threesome and affectionately called us The Trifecta. We were lucky enough to get to be in the front of the canoe (where you do the least amount of work!) - Olga being the hood ornament. (Though I can't swear that we were too lucky since we always had to contend with about 6 inches of water while getting in the darn canoe. Tricky to keep your ... everything dry, let me tell ya!) We paddled across the lake in the rainy drizzle to a little campsite in the woods. We hopped out of the canoe for a quick tour of the forest where we learned about skunk cabbage (a bear's best friend after a long winter w/out a poo!), nurse trees (dead trees that serve as "incubators" for baby trees and vegetation), moss, fungi, and other fun facts about the rain forest ... before having a nip of smoked salmon & homemade clam chowdah cooked over an open fire. Then we hopped back in the canoe, paddled back across the lake, handed off our sexy rain/canoe gear to the Jeep group, and loaded up for our off-road Jeep adventure. Mom took the wheel for the first part of our spin through the national park on an old logging trail. Up the mountain we climbed - tumble bumble pell mell through the woods. We had stunning views of waterfalls and the surrounding mountains as we bounced up the trail. (For a small taste of our fun but bumpy ride, have a looksy at the video. NOTE: that is not our tour guide that you hear on the radio but his faithful sidekick (a/k/a The Annoying Kid).) We were firmly instructed not to dodge a single pothole b/c (a) the Jeeps are made to take them and (b) the trails have "soft shoulders" which basically means that the edge of the trail essentially drops off the side of the mountain. (I don't know about you, but I didn't think rolling down the side of the mountain sounded like any fun!) We had great fun watching the old fart in front of us b/c (1) he was as pokey as a tortoise and (2) he really liked to dodge every pothole and check out the soft shoulders on those trails, though surprisingly he never went rolling off down the mountains! The views at our stops on the trail were really spectacular, and the pictures certainly don't do them justice. We switched drivers about halfway through our ride - Olga chose to remain the navigator. We were disappointed not to see any wildlife on this tour, but we saw plenty of "evidence" - anyone for some poop? (Sorry, inside joke! *grin*)
Now for the boys' tour. Which was a "three hour tour." Hahahaha! Actually, it was a bit longer than that. The boys were joined on their fishing trip by a girl who was the only one to catch anything - a small, young salmon just barely in the legal "keeper" range. Derek did get a nibble on his rod, but by the time anyone realized it, the chance to set the hook had passed them by. They did see wildlife on their ride, so at least they had something to show for their trip - a few great pictures of eagles.
After the girls got back to town, we gave the boys a buzz to see if they had made it back from their fishing trip. They had & they'd gone back aboard ship to drop off their gear and shed a layer or two of clothes. But they were currently on a quest to find dad, who had mysteriously disappeared and wasn't answering the room phone or his cell so they were going to hang around for a bit to see if they could catch up with him before coming to meet us on the pier. Eventually, Derek & David gave up their search & came and met us as we were walking through town to find the restaurant that had promised mom a yummy gluten-free chowder. We found the restaurant but weren't able to eat there after all. So we walked through downtown for a bit of window shopping & goofing around before heading back aboard ship for lunch. Oh, and we did finally find dad! *wink*
We watched from our balcony as Ketchikan slipped away and we headed for Juneau. We passed lots more beautiful scenery that afternoon, though I'm not sure any of us managed to take many photos. Perhaps b/c we all caught a few winks?? That evening, we had dinner in Endless Summer - the Mexican restaurant. While there, we got to watch a stunning display of humpback whales breaching. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get any photos. The windows in this particular restaurant had an odd curve to them that distorted the photos we did try to take. *bummer* Still, it was an awesome thing to witness! After dinner, David, Olga, and I went to the magic show which was fantastic! And it's not just that I'm easily entertained. This guy was good - really good. Not to mention he was a pretty good comedian too. His slight-of-hand trick was amazing - and that's just all you could say about it!
Tomorrow we're due in Juneau & I'm super excited about mushing me some huskies!!!