Category Archives: Alaska

Photo of the Week: The Alaskan Open Road.

What being out on the open road in Juneau, Alaska heading towards Mendenhall Valley looks like. The greenery, mountains, blue sky and lack of traffic on the Glacier Highway (Egan Drive, Alaska Route 7) made for a scenic ride as I looked back.

Juneau, Alaska road trip

Photo of the Week: An Alaskan Sunrise at Sea.

Moving along the Gulf of Alaska in the early morning hours while on an Alaskan Cruise, I stared off towards the Alaskan Panhandle to watch the sunrise and the dawn of a another travel day. So peaceful. 🙂

Sunrise, Alaska, Alaskan cruise

Photo of the Week: Welcome to Ketchikan, Alaska.

One of the more frequent stops on an Alaskan cruise is Ketchikan within the Inside Passage. One of the more popular shots in town is the welcome-to sign. That’s right up my alley so of course I was going to capture it. 🙂

Ketchikan is known for tourism and fishing. Hello to the “Salmon Capital of the World”!

welcome-to-ketchikan-alaska

#ElCafeDe2013: The Coffee of Inside Passage Alaska.

While on an Alaskan Cruise this summer we made three stops within the Inside Passage of Alaska. Of course there was going to be some coffee shop exploration at each. Our first stop was in Ketchikan and the coffee shop of choice was Good Coffee Company.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Ketchikan

After a pre-dawn start watching our ship come into port and then exploring the town and having some cruise excursion fun, the basic latte I ordered definitely hit the spot. Note: Good Coffee is cash only.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Ketchikan

I scoped out the cream and sugar stand. Notice the Deadman’s Reach sticker? Foreshadowing for the coffee I’d be trying out later. 🙂

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Ketchikan

The outdoor terrace behind the building was the place to enjoy the coffee. It was fun being in an establishment with a quiet and local feel versus the countless cruise ship owned jewelry and tourist shops that lined the streets.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Ketchikan

It’s a recommended spot being a short walk from the cruise ship docks.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Ketchikan

Further up the Inside Passage and the next day we were in the capital city of Juneau. The first place (shop) we went into off the cruise ship was Heritage Coffee Roasting Company.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Juneau, Heritage Coffee

We were at their downtown location, as they have six locations in and around Juneau. It was a mix of locals and their laptops and tourists charging their phones. All were enjoying freshly roasted coffee from Heritage’s vintage roaster.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Juneau, Heritage Coffee

I enjoyed checking out their logo everywhere and chatting with the friendly baristas.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Juneau, Heritage Coffee

Went more specialty coffee here getting the recommended Almond Joy Latte. I normally would go for a coffee mug, but the paper cup was distinctive with the logo on it. Note: Get the paper cup, it also makes for a great souvenir.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Juneau, Heritage Coffee

At the top of the Inside Passage and another day later we were in the gold rush town of Skagway. We checked out a couple of coffee hot spots, the first being Glacial Smoothies and Espresso in the heart of town, but off to the side from the tourist shops.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Skagway

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Skagway

A warm inside atmosphere awaited us as well as…

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Skagway

…locally brewed coffee. They serve the aforementioned Raven’s Brew Coffee. Raven’s Brew was originally based in Ketchikan, Alaska.

I went with their Deadman’s Reach coffee. The dark roast hit the spot while watching fellow cruise ship patrons and locals come and go. You’ll find a large offering of smoothies naturally as well as sandwiches, muffins, bagels and more. Note: If you’re looking for wi-fi, the only place to reliability find it in this town is the library.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Skagway

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Skagway

While walking along the cruise ship docks in Skagway heading towards the ship, we stopped in at The Caboose On the Dock for another caffeine pick me up.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Skagway

Within the small, train car shaped building I ordered their White Pass Gold coffee. More Alaskan brew, more caffeine, more deliciousness.

Alaska, Inside Passage, coffee, Skagway

Checking out the coffee shop and local brew scene within the Inside Passage of Alaska was fun, delicious and helped to keep the motor running in order to enjoy everything Alaska has to offer.

Alaska: Rafting the Taiya River.

During our stop in Skagway, Alaska on an Alaskan Cruise, we went on a rafting excursion through Skagway Float Tours. They picked us up in a van at the cruise ship dock…

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

…and we went on a forty-five minute ride along Nahku Bay and the Dyea Valley, a lot of the time on a narrow dirt road. We went through what was once the Klondike Gold Rush town of Dyea.

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Along the way there was one eagle sighting after another.

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

We crossed over the Taiya River, our rafting destination.

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Once along the shoreline we put on waterproof boots and life preservers and we’re told the proper procedures to get in and out of the raft, as to not fall into the icy cold glacier water.

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

It was then time to get out on the open Taiya River. Our tour guide did the paddling as we mingled with him and the six others sharing this adventure. He shared lots of tidbits about Alaska and the area, seeing greenery, the open river, snow-capped mountains, glaciers and more along the way. I’ll let the pictures do the talking. 🙂

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

About an hour later and a few miles downstream we reached the end point. We took a few minutes to stare at all the Alaskan beauty around us, while enjoying the snacks and Alaskan salmon they provided us.

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

The park bench and…

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

…raft were hanging out and soaking in the Alaskan beauty too!

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

It was time to head back out onto the open dirt Dyea Road and to Skagway.

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Skagway, Alaska, rafting, Taiya River, Inside Passage

Along the route was when I realized how far north we really were. It was only a short drive to the Yukon and Canada. On the way there we stopped for scenic and panoramic views of Skagway and the surrounding area. More on that in a future post. 🙂

It was a fun, memorable time hanging out on the Taiya River. Our tour guide was nice, giving us ideas on things to do back in Skagway. I would recommend checking out Skagway Float Tours and their Scenic River Float trip when looking for an excursion in the area.

What memorable excursions have you done when on a cruise? Any Alaskan adventures?