Visiting Alaska was definitely on my bucket list. Had been every since I read Jack London’s books about the great Yukon gold rush of 1898 and began to dream of experiencing my own Alaska adventure. Of course, I knew I would never be physically strong enough to cart 2000 pounds of food and gold-digging supplies from Skagway up the Chilkoot trail to the Yukon.
But seeing the world that Jack London a hundred years ago saw made my heart thrill.
Here’s Vancouver, Canada, where we began our adventure in mid-August.
We took a Princess cruise. (I highly recommend them!) Sumptuous accommodations and too much food made us feel sluggish and fat. I told myself I was simply storing up energy for our land excursions! Ha, ha.
We had a good-sized suite and hung out on our deck, thrilled to view humpback whales and porpoises at a distance cavorting in the icy waters.
When we reached Ketchikan, our first stop, we debarked the ship and waited for our tour guides. We had elected to go zip-lining. I know, you think I’m kidding. Little old lady, going zip lining? But Bruce thought we could handle it.
I think Bruce was way more capable, though. The zip-lining part is easy-peasy. You just hang on and yell like crazy when you step off the platform onto nothing, and whisk along the cable. But in-between the zip lining, they had erected various types of obstacles. Like a series of rope loops that we had to step on. It didn’t look too hard when viewed from the ground. But when we got up there, about thirty or forty feet high, those itty bitty loops were wiggly and hard to snag with our feet.
Being pretty little I had a hard time stretching between the bottoms of the loops and all the way up to the hand rails. Perfect for an average sized man. Not so easy for a short person. However, the little girl in the photo was amazing. Maybe she’s too young to comprehend the concept of DANGER!
But that wasn’t the only obstacle. Next, we had to step down onto a jouncy log and balance to walk about ten feet across to our next tree landing.
The really, really worst obstacle, though, was a series of wooden planks that hung suspended by ropes, like swing-set seats. The obstacle stretched about twenty feet from landing to landing. If you stepped wrong, the seat swung out from underneath your feet. At one point, that’s what happened to me, leaving me hanging almost upside down. It took me a few desperate back and forth swings to right myself. And I secretly applauded myself for having such strong shoulders and pecs. Yay, Dena!
At the end of the zip-lining exercise, we zipped out over open water which formed part of an inlet where canoes and kayaks take off. We landed high above the water and thrilled to hear the cries of eagles nearby. Doesn’t Bruce look handsome in his zip lining get-up?
The next day, my shoulders were sore from the zip lining exercise, but I felt proud of myself, as if I had successfully completed a kind of “outward bound” challenge.
By the way, I kept a pretty detailed journal of our trip (like always). You never know when you might be able to harness some of the memories for future stories!
Next week, I’ll share more about our Alaska adventure.