Friday, August 2, 2013

North to Alaska (Part 1)

I apologize for the long delay in posts, I confess I am a bad blogger!  These past 5-6 weeks have been jam pack full of activities and work has been busy during the day.  You almost wish you could ask for more downtime so you can update your blog, but I'm sure that request would not go over well!  Allow me to take you back in time to the first week of July where Casey and I were blessed to go with his brother David and his wife Taci, his mom, and Casey's 86 year old grandfather on a 7 day Alaskan cruise together.  The vacation actually stretched out to 9 days because we spent a day in Seattle, but it was incredible!!!!
   What God created in Alaska was truly breath-taking, unlike anything else I have seen!  I'm so glad that Casey and I were able to go, and Baby Hixon came along for the ride too (at the perfect price too, FREE!)  It was wonderful to share this experience with our family, especially his Pawpaw.  We have memories that will stay with us forever!  So what did we do?!  I'll try to be as concise as possible, but I truly feel each detail is important.  On Friday (June 29th) we flew to Seattle to break up the time spent on an airplane, and most flights stop in Seattle on the way to Anchorage, so why not see another city you haven't been to?  We arrived late Friday night and our plane to leave for Anchorage left early Saturday evening, so unfortunately not too much time was spent here.
     We were able to go to the public market that's right on the water that has every kind of food and flower imaginable!  The flower bouquets were so big and beautiful and CHEAP!  Arrangements down in Houston that would be $20-$30 at least were going for $5-$10!  The original Starbuck's is down there too, but it is not very big and the crowd in and to get inside was ridiculous, so we took a picture and kept on walking.  After that we made our way to the Space Needle, which was very nice.  It's neat to see an entire city from high up.  I had honestly expected it to be very rainy in Seattle, but not a single drop and the weather was very pleasant.

     Onto Anchorage, which was definitely much cooler, but by no means miserable.  We didn't get a chance to do anything here because we got to our hotel so late Saturday night and had to leave Sunday morning for the cruise, but Casey was able to eat some reindeer sausage for breakfast that morning and let me try a sampling of it, not too bad.  Sorry to Rudolph and his kin for eating him!  Casey's Mom found this bus tour that would pick us up at our hotel and then take us to where the cruise departed in Seward, which was about 90 minutes away.  It even stopped at a wild life reservation where we got to see some bears, moose, elk, etc.
     Cruises are lovely, I love coming back to my room and having my bed made and room cleaned!  Easy to get used to, hard to go back to reality!  Monday (July 1st) was a day at sea, but what a day!  The boat went through a glacier passage and what amazing sights we saw!  Chunks of ice in the water and huge glaciers that we could see blocks of ice falling from was a definite sight to see.  I'll post a few pictures below, and try to get the rest on Facebook at some point.

    Tuesday (the 3rd aka my sweet Mommy's birthday) we docked at Haines, Alaska for the day.  In the morning, Casey and I went on an Eagle Preserve Wildlife River excursion where we were able to see beautiful bald eagles and the massive nests they build in the Alaskan nature all while being driven around on an aluminum boat!  The scenery was great and seeing our national symbol in its natural habitat was fantastic!  In the afternoon, we went on a bus tour of the city and learned some more about the area, which was educational and nice to do most of that while sitting.

     Wednesday (the 4th, Happy Independence Day America!) we were in Juneau.  The morning was a little rainy, but we still panned for gold in our rain jackets/ponchos without any problems!  That is some tedious work, I don't know how they did it back in the day.  For lunch, we were able to get Casey some crab that he really wanted to try (if I was a fan of crab or for that matter seafood, I'd probably be there right there with him and want some true Alaskan crab).  Thankfully, the city of Juneau came through and he was satisfied!  I will say the crab bisque I tried was tasty, but I don't I actually ate any crab, just the creamy goodness.  The afternoon we went on a whale watching excursion which was AMAZING!!! The excursion place guarantees a sighting, but I was worried that all we would see would just be this fin of a whale way off in the distance.  We definitely were not disappointed.  At first we saw the fins of a few, which was nice but later on we got to see about 10+ of them together doing what they call bubble net feeding.  Apparently this is a rare site to see even for the locals.  With a baby on the way, Casey and I bought us a what I call paparazzi camera that will take nice action shots that you don't have to push the button down and wait 3 seconds for it to finally take the shot that is now not the shot you wanted.  Casey was able to get some great shots of the bubble net feeding happening.

    Since this post is already quite lengthy, I am going to split up the trip over 2 posts (plus it will increase my # of posts!)  Until next time my friends!!!

"Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!  You have set your glory in the heavens.  Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger" Psalm 8:1-2

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