Cruising Alaska on a Budget by Melinda Brasher: Special Guest Post

I have been lucky enough to take several cruises to Alaska, and I hope to take more. It’s a fantastic place to visit, especially by water, and especially if you love nature. Though I’ve enjoyed pretty much everything, here are some of the highlights of my experiences.

Glaciers

Glacier Days generic Marjerie
Marjerie Glacier, Glacier Bay. Photo by Melinda Brasher

The first time I heard the “white thunder” of a glacier calving, the first time a seal looked up at me from an iceberg, the first time our ship broke the ice in front of us to get closer to the glacier–all those moments were magical, but so was the fifth time I sailed into Glacier Bay and so will be the next time. The magic never dies. Be sure to bundle up and spend plenty of time on the outer decks enjoying the magnificence of nature.

Skagway

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Tall facades on Skagway buildings. Photo by Melinda Brasher

I grew up in a mining town, so when my first Alaskan cruise didn’t go to Skagway, I was like, “Oh well. Mining…yawn.” Not yawn. My second (and all subsequent) cruises have stopped in Skagway, and it’s probably my favorite of all the common ports. Buildings: cute. History: fascinating. Free walking tours from the Park Service: awesome. Hiking: spectacular. Surrounding mountains: massive. The cruise in through Lynn Canal’s blue-green water: gorgeous. Then there’s White Pass and the famous railroad. The whole place is magical. Just be prepared for literally thousands of other tourists and you’ll love it.

Marine Mammals

BOOK SEAL photo by Melinda Brasher
Seal on an iceberg. Photo by Melinda Brasher

I love the humpback whales spouting in the distance, surfacing gently every once in a while near the ship, showing their unique tails as they dive. Perhaps my favorites are the sea otters floating on their backs and rough-housing with each other. I get a thrill watching seals, sea lions, porpoises, and orcas. And I’ll never forget the time, late at night, those dolphins played in the dark alongside our ship, jumping in the wake and racing us. No one else was around. Just me and the dolphins. I felt indescribably blessed.

Salmon

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Sockeye Salmon at Steep Creek, Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau. Photo by Melinda Brasher

I’m not talking about eating salmon—though most cruise lines will give you at least one chance to indulge in the delicious Alaskan specialty. I’m talking about the actual fish. Their life cycle is awe-inspiring. Born in fresh water, sometimes far inland, they move out to sea to spend most of their lives until instinct drives them back to the place of their birth to spawn and die. The journey home can be a long and rigorous one, swimming against rapids, jumping up cascades. Some species have been found 200 miles upstream in the Yukon. And after this epic journey, they die, sacrificing their lives for the next generation. It’s tragic and beautiful at the same time, and you can see some of it first hand on an Alaskan cruise, especially if you go late in July or August.

Creek Street in Ketchikan during the height of a salmon run is like a freeway at rush hour, and watching them struggle to the top of the little falls always humbles me. I’ve seen the water froth with tiny shark-like fins outside a hatchery in Sitka. At Mendenhall Glacier, we watched a beautiful red and green female sockeye scooping out a nice egg-laying spot while a male defended her from his competition. In Anchorage, you can watch people “combat fishing” for them. It’s a huge part of not just the nature of Alaska, but the culture.

Hiking

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Upper Dewey Lake, Skagway. Photo by Melinda Brasher

I love hiking, and by “hiking” I mean getting out in nature and walking, be it short and easy or long and steep. Alaska’s a great place to do it, even if you’re only in port for a few hours. Here are some of my favorites. The often-wet and mysterious Deer Mountain Trail in Ketchikan takes you to some nice views of the islands in the strait. You can play in and around the blue-green waters of Lynn Canal on the easy stroll to Yakutania Point in Skagway. Portage Glacier Pass Trail in Whitter takes 45 minutes to get from the ship to the tree line on a trail that may still have patches of snow in late summer. At the top, miniature alpine plants, dwarf trees, and tiny pools of clear water compete in glory only with stark-white Portage Glacier in the distance. The hike above Exit Glacier to sprawling Harding Icefield in Seward is nothing short of spectacular. Plan enough time to do it justice.

Perhaps my favorite is the steep and rigorous climb to Upper Dewey Lake from Skagway. The lake is serene, the views breathtaking, and part of the trail follows a waterfall-like section of stream. I went on a sunny day, and I really don’t know if anything could be more beautiful.

Your Highlights

If you’ve been on an Alaska cruise, share your highlights below. If you haven’t, I encourage you to go and see some of this beautiful land for yourself. Only then will you know what your highlights will be.

Alaska Cruising on a budget MarchFor more details on affordable things to see and do in Alaska, read my book, “Cruising Alaska on a Budget; A Cruise and Port Guide.” Available at a budget price on Amazon, or free to download with Amazon Prime.

For more pictures, check my website.

Happy Cruising!

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Melinda Brasher fell in love with Alaska on her first cruise there. She spends her time hiking, writing, traveling, and teaching English as a second language in places like Poland, Mexico, Arizona, and the Czech Republic (Czechia). You can find links to her travel writing and plenty of posts about Alaska on her blog: www.melindabrasher.com

New Feature on Sojourner McConnell’s blog, The Path of the Writer

New Feature on The Path of the Writer with Sojourner McConnell with guest authors and writers weekly Friday's Fun and Family-friendly Guest Posts

This Friday, March 31, 2017, begins a new tradition on Sojourner’s author page. We reached out to authors, writers, bloggers and people with something uplifting, fun, or endearing, to share in what we are calling, Friday’s Fun and Family-Friendly Guest Posts.

This will happen each Friday as long as we have participation. I am excited to say, there are already several scheduled posts lined up and are looking forward to this new venture.  If you have uplifting, fun, stories, artwork, videos, or poetry, then I ask you to consider sharing your posts on this blog where I will make sure that black links are in place allowing for you to have potential visitors on your blog and author pages.

I hope you will join the fun and watch writers from across various genres bring a little humor, hope, fun, and happiness to the world.  If you have a post or want more information on this, just drop me a line in email or in the comments below.

Friday morning we have cj petterson with a lovely story called “Romance at the Do Drop In” that I believe everyone will enjoy. I hope you will join us there.

 

Help other writers by L.S. Hawker

My friend—we’ll call her A for reasons that will become clear—belonged to an online support group for unpublished authors. Everybody was nice and, as the name implies, supportive. Members even met in person and became true friends, like A and one of the women she met in the group (we’ll call her B). But then something happened.

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Mystery Thriller Week Guest Post: The Secret Novel-Writing Formula (Maybe)… by Colin Garrow

 

Writing a book series can feel as if you’re recreating the same thing over and over. And if the series is successful, maybe that’s exactly what’s going on – that, to some extent, the author is dipping into a kind of formula as a basis for each new volume. So if that’s true, is it a technique other writers can use?

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Valentine’s Day Guest Post from MTW authors Robbie and Michael Cheadle

Robbie and Michael are the co-authors of the Sir Chocolate series of books which are all about a little man, Sir Chocolate, who lives in a land where you can eat everything, even the flowers and the trees. Sir Chocolate and his lady love, Lady Sweet, have a number of little adventures, sourcing ingredients for their fabulous chocolate creations and helping their friends in Chocolateville out of various scrapes and problems. Each book contains illustrations made from fondant, biscuits, and cake and also includes five simple recipes that children can do under parental supervision. Each book also features a poem about life with children by Robbie and a fondant creation by Michael, aged ten years. The books also include links to our blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com, where tutorials on how to make the various fondant creations that feature in the books are available. The link to our YouTube videos, edited by Gregory Cheadle aged 13 and ¾ years, Michael’s older brother, which show you how to make the more complex recipes is also included in each book.

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Guest Post: Mystery Thriller Week Author Stephen Morris Explains It All

I first became interested in the occult and magic when I was very VERY young and saw The Wizard of Oz on television for the first and second times. The first time, my mom says I was terrified of the Wicked Witch’s appearance in Munchkin Land amidst smoke and flames and ran straight to bed! (I must have been 5 years old or so.) The next year I began watching the movie again and made myself stick with it past the appearance of the Witch and after that — I was hooked!

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Talking Shop a Guest Post by Catherine Dilts a Mystery Thriller Week Author

Talking Shop
By Catherine Dilts

The sun slants through the blinds, casting lemon bands of light across the bistro table. You lift the coffee mug to your lips. Pause.

“So how are you going to do it?”

Your friend wears a prim expression as she states, “Ligature strangulation,” in the same tone she’d use to utter “sugar cookies.”

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