Friday, September 22nd, 2017

Big Canoe Group Cruises Alaska

Hi everyone. Peter and I are back home after a fabulous trip to the great state of Alaska in the company of 10 other folks from Big Canoe! When we spontaneously decided we wanted to go on an Alaskan cruise, we contacted a dear friend, Betty Haendel, who, with her husband, Dr. Charley Haendel, own an adorable part time home here. Betty is an independent agent for The Cruise Authority, and we knew that if anyone could get us on a cruise in peak season with only a few week’s notice, it was Betty.  Well Betty came through like gangbusters. Not only did she miraculously find a cabin for us on the Coral Princess, but she told us we could join a large group of Big Canoers she had booked on the same cruise. It turned out that we knew 3 or 4 of the BC folks, and we always love the opportunity to meet more of our community neighbors. So, we were off to Alaska on August 24. Most of the rest of the group left several days before us because they were booked for land tours to Denali National Park, Mt. McKinley, Copper River, etc., but we all hooked up for dinner the first night of the cruise and each night thereafter.
Big Canoers from upper left: John Slim, Peter Vallone, Ruth Slim, Margo Vallone, John Willson, Ron James, Dick DeSenna, Tom Greene, Joyce DeSenna, Jayne Greene, Susan Willson, Jean James

Big Canoers from upper left: John Slim, Peter Vallone, Ruth Slim, Margo Vallone, John Willson, Ron James, Dick DeSenna, Tom Greene, Joyce DeSenna, Jayne Greene, Susan Willson, Jean James

After overnighting in Anchorage and visiting a fascinating museum that reinacted the horrors of the 1964 Good Friday earthquake, we were motorcoached to board our ship docked at Whittier.  Our first real views of glaciers came at sunrise the next morning at College Fjord in Prince William Sound.  Within an 8-mile stretch, five major ancient tidewater glaciers co-exist with spruce forests and majestic towering mountains. To ensure everyone experiences the full panoramic view, the ship slowly rotated from port to starboard.  

Majestic Scenery of Glacier Bay Mirrored in Water

Majestic Scenery of Glacier Bay Mirrored in Water

Our up-close-and-personal glacier encounter occurred a day later in awesome Glacier Bay, which was initially discovered in the early 1800s when the entire bay was a solid sheet of ice. Less than 80 years later, the ice had receded over 40 cubic miles, a speculated result of seismic activity and dramatic climate change.  Perhaps the concept of global warming is not peculiar to the 21st Century!  A major highlight of the trip was to see and hear Muir Glacier (named for famous naturalist John Muir), a mammoth 250 foot high ice mountain “calve” building-size pieces of ice from its craggy blue-white surface. Calving is the term used for the process that births the thousands of icebergs that precariously dot the frigid waters.

Muir Glacier "Calving" in Glacier Bay

Muir Glacier "Calving" in Glacier Bay

Ports of call included the colorful towns of Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan. The day we were in Juneau, Alaska was celebrating the 50th anniversary of its statehood, AND it was the day that Governor Sarah Palin’s candidacy for VP was announced. In Skagway, we were thrilled with our ride on a classic restored scenic White Pass Railroad train.  It travels on the original narrow gauge tracks that ascend over 3,000 feet from sea level to the Canadian border.  The breathtaking route parallels the arduous single-file trail that thousands of gold seekers were required to climb repeatedly to meet the requirement to carry 1,000 pounds of supplies on their backs to the summit before being allowed to continue for several more grueling days to seek their fortunes in the Klondike.  

Restored White Pass Train Climbs Over 3,000 Feet on Narrow Gauge Track Built in 1898

Restored White Pass Train Climbs Over 3,000 Feet on Narrow Gauge Track Built in 1898

Our 7-day cruise ended in Vancouver, British Columbia, where Peter and I spent an additional two days exploring this beautiful city. The high point–literally–was a trip to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, originally built of hemp and cedar planks in 1889 and suspended by two men 450 feet across the 230-foot CapilanoRiver gorge. Our two sojourns across the shaking bridge were exhilarating, and well worth the vertigo rush.

Vertigo-Producing Capilano Suspension Bridge

Vertigo-Producing Capilano Suspension Bridge

The beauty and mind-blowing expanse of Alaskan tundra is awesome, and everyone agreed it’s a not-to-miss adventure. But when we returned to Atlanta and and hour later entered the gate and passed under our beloved covered wooden bridge, we thanked God that the idyllic Big Canoe mountains and community will always be home for us.  

It's Not Alaska, But You Can't Beat the Beauty of Mountains of Big Canoe!

It's Not Alaska, But You Can't Beat the Beauty of the Mountains of Big Canoe!

Thanks for reading. We invite and welcome all comments or suggestions. If we can be of any service to you regarding Big Canoe homes for sale, or any other properties, please contact us.

Peter and Margo Vallone

706-268-6426

www.MountainHomeResales.com

Comments

2 Responses to “Big Canoe Group Cruises Alaska”
  1. Gordon Griffith says:

    Margo, Great reminder for Shirl & me of our trip to Alaska over 10 years ago. A wonderful place to visit (in the summer) but , we too, like the beauty of home sweet home.
    Gordon

  2. Jean James says:

    Thank you.
    You did a great job describing our wonderful vacation but aren’t we fortunate to call Big Canoe “home.” It’s our little piece of heaven.

    Jean and Ron James

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