Our first port was Alaska's capital city of Juneau. We arrive mid-morning and had several hours to explore the town prior to our planned excursion.
Here are a few initial shots from when we exited the ship. The statue is of a bull terrier puppy named Patsy Ann, who helped out on the port during the 1920's. She is a legend in Juneau.
I don't go on cruises to shop, but apparently this is a huge part of cruising for many people and jewelry is a focus. Like other port towns, Juneau had the same jewelry scam going on, with stores offering little trinkets and aggressively trying to grab our attention. We played a game where we avoided these stores in pursuit of our souvenir magnet that we like to buy. The town is cute, but really mostly a tourist trap. I imagine locals steer clear of this area during cruise season.
For lunch, we went to Deckhand Dave's, a fish taco food truck parked in the port. Fresh fish with fluffy batter = delicious.
Crows are everywhere in Alaska! We also saw wild bald eagles, but the crows rule the city. They are very clever birds.
Pretty wild flowers.
For our afternoon excursion, we hopped on a tour bus and headed to the Juneau Sled Dog Discovery and Musher's Camp. Located in the Tongas National Rainforest, we visited a training facility for dogs and mushers preparing to compete in the Iditarod.
In the summer, the dogs train with sleds that run on dirt. We were given a short ride in one of the sleds. The barking, howling, and whining prior to running is ear-splitting. You've never heard such a ruckus. The huskies are so excited that they can't help but make noise, but when they run, they are completely silent and focused. All you hear is the sound of their feet hitting the dirt and the musher's calls.
After the ride, we saw a presentation on the equipment used and the logistics regarding the Iditarod.
The Tongas National Rainforest is lush and beautiful. We were able to take a few pictures before heading to the final portion of our excursion.
Saving the best for last, we went to meet the puppies! We held puppies ( both a few months old and a few weeks old) and snuggled them. We also got to see the older puppies run in a giant hamster wheel like contraption. They loved it! You just can't feel anything but pure joy when cuddling puppies. So soft and sweet.
Time with the puppies was over too quickly. If they had let us, we'd probably have ditched the cruise and moved in with the dogs!
After our short bus ride back to port, we had just enough time to ride the Goldbelt Mount Roberts Tramway, an aerial tram that rises to 1800 feet above the port. At the top, we found a gift shop, restaurant, and a raptor center.
A few pictures that I have to comment on. First, look at this brown bear paw print. Yikes! We saw many bear warning signs in Alaska and if this paw print doesn't make you take the warnings seriously, nothing will!
Dan thought this log was rubbish! Just before the cruise, we had a one-ton Timothy Oulton log coffee table installed in our house. No log will ever compare to our log!
See the hang glider? This was very close to the aerial tram and bald eagles were also soaring in the vicinity. It was quite the show.
One last picture of Juneau, posing in front of our ship.