Stunning Views of Alaska from the Skagway Overlook

Our Alaskan cruise ship was docked in Skagway, a small, small town up-top the Inside Passage of Alaska. On our way to a rafting excursion we stopped at the Skagway Overlook off Dyea Road.

Immediately in front of us was panoramic scenery, stunning vistas, views of the entire town, the waterways, our cruise ship and the Alaskan snow-capped mountains off in the distance. So much Alaskan beauty from just one overlook! Well without further ado:

Skagway Alaska, scenic viewing area, Alaskan cruise excursion

Skagway Alaska, scenic viewing area, Alaskan cruise excursion

Skagway Alaska, scenic viewing area, Alaskan cruise excursion

Skagway Alaska, scenic viewing area, Alaskan cruise excursion

Skagway Alaska, scenic viewing area, Alaskan cruise excursion

Skagway Alaska, scenic viewing area, Alaskan cruise excursion

Skagway Alaska, scenic viewing area, Alaskan cruise excursion

Skagway Alaska, scenic viewing area, Alaskan cruise excursion

Skagway Alaska, scenic viewing area, Alaskan cruise excursion

Skagway Alaska, scenic viewing area, Alaskan cruise excursion

What an excursion of sorts within an excursion we enjoyed while in Skagway, Alaska.

Have you ever had any memorable cruise excursion side trips?

Juneau, Alaska: A Million Skyline and Cityscape Looks

I’ve done big cities so far in the A Million Skyline Looks series. Time to mix things up a bit. It is time to show off the skyline of Alaska’s state capital in Juneau. I did so mostly from aboard the Celebrity Solstice during an Alaskan cruise.

Juneau, Alaska skyline and cityscape

Coming into the popular cruise port, the city’s skyline was front and center. The green, steep and majestic 3,500 foot tall mountains stood right against Juneau highlighted by Mount Roberts. It was hard for me to imagine a better natural city backdrop.

Juneau, Alaska skyline and cityscape

Juneau, Alaska skyline and cityscape

Juneau, Alaska skyline and cityscape

Juneau, Alaska skyline and cityscape

Tip: One thing we wish we would have done was to take the Mount Roberts Tramway. You can view the Juneau skyline and cityscape from way, way, way up-top.

Juneau, Alaska skyline and cityscape

Juneau, Alaska skyline and cityscape

Juneau sits along the Gastineau Channel, with some housing opposite. Scenic views also awaited looking straight down the channel.

Juneau, Alaska skyline and cityscape

Juneau, Alaska skyline and cityscape

Juneau, Alaska skyline and cityscape

Juneau, Alaska skyline and cityscape

Juneau, Alaska skyline and cityscape

Juneau, Alaska skyline and cityscape

We docked for the afternoon and evening, giving us the chance to walk some of Juneau. I captured some of the colorful, tourist friendly cityscape. We walked to some local Heritage Coffee Roasting Company brew.

Juneau, Alaska skyline and cityscape

Juneau, Alaska skyline and cityscape

Juneau, Alaska skyline and cityscape

Juneau, Alaska skyline and cityscape

Juneau, Alaska skyline and cityscape

Juneau, Alaska skyline and cityscape

It was a fun day capturing a million skyline and cityscape looks in Juneau, Alaska.

What city skylines have seen up close and captured from a cruise?

An Alaskan Cruise Brought Us to the Sawyer Glaciers

When you are on a one week plus Alaskan cruise, you are bound to experience at least one glacier along the way. At the crack of dawn one day aboard the Celebrity Solstice cruise ship, we headed north through the Inside Passage towards Juneau. About 45 miles south of Alaska’s capital city we cut over and into the Tracy Arm Fjord.

Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Fjord, Juneau, Alaska

We were now on a 20+ mile journey through the fjord and its blue icy waters heading toward its apex. It’s there where we would have our first glacier sighting in the Sawyer Glaciers. The decks filled up fast, especially at the bow, once the ship began navigating this narrow passage.

Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Fjord on an Alaska Cruise, Celebrity Solstice

Small chunks of ice started appearing randomly floating in the water. We passed by one valley after another, featuring up to 7,000 foot tall snow-capped mountains.

Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Fjord, Juneau, Alaska

Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Fjord, Juneau, Alaska

Before realizing it the face of one of the Sawyer Glaciers was right in front of us. It’s vastness above the surface had me thinking. How far into the water does it go? We got as close as we could safely.

Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Fjord, Juneau, Alaska

Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Fjord, Juneau, Alaska

Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Fjord, Juneau, Alaska

Throughout our hour to hour and a half stay I did my best to navigate through the masses. I got pretty close to the bow of the ship to capture the beautiful cobalt blue ice that lied straight ahead.

Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Fjord, Juneau, Alaska

Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Fjord, Juneau, Alaska

Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Fjord, Juneau, Alaska

Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Fjord, Juneau, Alaska

Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Fjord, Juneau, Alaska

If you look carefully you can see a group of people out on the open water in a small tour boat getting a closer look. This excursion took off from our cruise ship. I wonder the views they must have gotten?!

Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Fjord, Juneau, Alaska

Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Fjord, Juneau, Alaska

Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Fjord on an Alaska Cruise, Celebrity Solstice

Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Fjord, Juneau, Alaska

Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Fjord, Juneau, Alaska

Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Fjord on an Alaska Cruise, Celebrity Solstice

Tip: If you are there in the warmer months, you might run into some seals and their newly born pups. No sightings for me unfortunately.

Being it was the early morning, it meant lots of coffee consumption while checking out the Alaskan beauty.

Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Fjord, in Alaska, morning coffee

Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Fjord, in Alaska, morning coffee

Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Fjord, in Alaska, morning coffee

In fact, we would later go on to see the Mendenhall Glacier also around Juneau. Two glaciers in one trip! This mornings Alaskan adventure that brough us to the Sawyer Glaciers was a memorable one.

What are some memorable stops you’ve made on a cruise? Have you had a chance to see a glacier up close?

My Favorite New Zealand Beach Shots

Beauty sits everywhere you turn in New Zealand, which includes of course whenever you are on a beach. From the Tasman Sea and remote West Coast to the beaches lying just outside the hearts of Christchurch and Auckland, I’ve had the chance to enjoy many grains of sand and beaches along the waters of the “The Land of the Long White Cloud”.

Some of my favorite New Zealand beach shots and experiences are below. Part of the adventure and fun was just in getting to some of the more remote spots. I can never seem to put the camera down and there is almost always no one else around. No matter the weather they are all just as beautiful.

I’ve shared some of these before, with some new and alternate photos mixed in. Who is ready to visit New Zealand and hit up the beach?! Well without further ado:

Okanto Beach along the West Coast - Favorite New Zealand Beach shots

It doesn’t get much more remote than the village of Okanto and this Tasman Sea beach front along the West Coast.

Piha Beach - Favorite New Zealand Beach shots

Looking down at the breathtaking Piha Beach, my favorite Auckland day trip destination.

Sumner Beach in Christchurch - Favorite New Zealand Beach shots

Sumner Beach in Christchurch, a popular spot for locals along the east coast. Volcanic rock dots the landscape.

The Pines Beach, Christchurch - Favorite New Zealand Beach shots

You’ll find wide open beach along Pegasus Bay at The Pines Beach. Christchurch lies off in the distance.

Shakespear Regional Park, Auckland - Favorite New Zealand Beach shots

Out on the open Shakespear Regional Park beach just outside Auckland.

Shakespear Regional Park, Auckland - Favorite New Zealand Beach shots

Get away from the hustle and bustle at Shakespear Regional Park and the Whangaparaoa Peninsula on the North Island.

Bethellls Beach - Favorite New Zealand Beach shots

Admiring the surf and blue waters of Bethells Beach on the North Island.

Bethellls Beach - Favorite New Zealand Beach shots

Walking the volcanic sand of Bethells Beach near Auckland. Watch out for that quick sand!

Beachfront in Wanaka - Favorite New Zealand Beach shots

Walking the early morning Wanaka beachfront along Lake Wanaka.

Opoutere Beach - Favorite New Zealand Beach shots

No one else around on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula at Opoutere Beach

Queenstown beach, Lake Wakatipu - Favorite New Zealand Beach shots

Starring out at the turquoise waters of Lake Wakatipu, along the beach in Downtown Queenstown.

Opoutere Beach - Favorite New Zealand Beach shots

Looking out into the Pacific Ocean and Hikunui Island from Opoutere Beach.

Where have some of your favorite photos come from in your time on New Zealand beaches?

Pure Michigan Sunflowers as Far as the Eye Can See

We are on the backside of the summer season here in Michigan and the Midwest. That meant when I was out on the open road this week, I came across a field of Pure Michigan sunflowers as far as the eye can see.

Pure Michigan sunflowers, Ann Arbor summer time

I got as close to the never-ending field in Whitmore Lake, just outside Ann Arbor, as I could without going in. The early morning light just beamed off the sunflowers that were as tall as me. All of the bright blue sky served as the perfect backdrop. Dawn is my recommended time to experience sunflowers.

Pure Michigan sunflowers, Ann Arbor summer time

Pure Michigan sunflowers, Ann Arbor summer time

Pure Michigan sunflowers, Ann Arbor summer time

With sunflowers usually come some bees, but I was lucky enough only to see a few. Can you spot the one below? 🙂

Pure Michigan sunflowers, Ann Arbor summer time

Pure Michigan sunflowers, Ann Arbor summer time

You will find this field on the northwest corner of North Territorial and Whitmore Lake roads. I parked alongside Whitmore Lake road watching the morning dew soak my jeans and shoes. It was well worth it to see the summertime beauty that is sunflowers. I will let the rest of the pictures do the talking.

Pure Michigan sunflowers, Ann Arbor summer time

Pure Michigan sunflowers, Ann Arbor summer time

Pure Michigan sunflowers, Ann Arbor summer time

Pure Michigan sunflowers, Ann Arbor summer time

Pure Michigan sunflowers, Ann Arbor summer time

Pure Michigan sunflowers, Ann Arbor summer time

Pure Michigan sunflowers, Ann Arbor summer time

From my experience sunflowers don’t seem to stay in full bloom for very long. I was so happy that I drove through this intersection this week. 🙂

Where else would you recommend checking out sunflowers in Michigan? Where have you come across them in your travels?