How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


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Inlets, Wilderness and a Polar Bear Dip

Yes, we missed the Magician’s magic show due to a sit-down dinner, and not to compare one as more interesting than the other, I did learn an interesting tidbit this day. When I think of Alaska, I think of BIG snow, but how do people get from one town to another in winter especially when it comes to the trains battering tonnes of snow (or so I imagine)? How do they do it? A snow plow train blower is on display on the edge of town for all tourists coming in and out of Skagway to see.

Pictures are okay, but watching a snow blower on the tracks is another story. It gives me goosebumps to imagine getting stuck on a train surrounded by nothing but snow.

After our meandering visit in Skagway, we passed over a couple sets of railway tracks, paths to park-like settings, and more brands stamped/painted on rock faces.

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The next morning, Mary and I grabbed our earliest breakfast while walkers already traipsed the wet promenade deck wearing gloves and bundled in weatherproof jackets with hoods.

Soon we joined other gawkers as the cruise ship entered Glacial Bay. Rain-slick decks, dripping railings, and the weeping sky discouraged the majority of travellers from coming outside. Darn weather. I hunched in my weatherproof jacket and stuck it out until the captain performed a s-l-o-w 180-degree turn in a space I was sure we’d scrape the surrounding mountains. No damage to the ship and no sea life endangered, I guess the captain had performed this act a time or two.

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The show over, we’d had enough damp weather and clumped inside to warm our bones with a hot drink. Mary signed up for a polar bear dip mid-afternoon in the outside pool. Only three other brave souls from the whole ship entered the contest: a 14-year-old girl; a young man of 20 or so; a young oriental mother with her four or five-year-old son, and my sister Mary.

The announcer read a long speech to stir up a little tension, I suppose. Around 30 or so onlookers—noses dripping with rain—drifted outside to cheer on the contestants. Hoods up and dancing from foot-to-foot, the curious itched for entertainment relief from their chill and boring day. There would be no prizes; only ah honourable mention for the winner. Where? On their fleet of cruise ships? So, nothing for their efforts except a plain certificate of accomplishment.

The show was over in a flash. Holding her nose, Mary jumped up onto the raised wall ledge of the pool, leapt up, and cannonballed into the water. Afterward, she asked how many pictures I’d taken. I’d used my iPad min not a fast-action camera. “One—of you,” I said. Oopsie. I guess I failed as her media photographer.

Inside the ship, Mary headed to the hot tub. I lounged next to a white-robed woman to whom I mentioned my surprise when my sister soldiered up for the dip. “I give the three other people a lot of credit, considering the damp and cold weather. Too cold for me.”

The woman looked me straight in the eye and grinned. “How much you want to bet the outside pool is heated?”

“O-hh.” My sister hadn’t said a word about the water. She shivered for all the onlookers and played her part. When I asked about the water temperature, Mary made a face and said, “My lips are sealed.”

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Next on May 25th – North to Alaska: Bet You Don’t Know These Quick Facts

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

 

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North to Alaska: Skagway Adventures?

We were already docked when I looked out the window at 6:45 a.m. The weather was (again) overcast, not an uplifting start to the day. Sigh.

Our stateroom window provided a view of a sheered rock wall painted/stamped with brand names from our narrow entry point. This is just a small sampling.

A five-car came tram along. People lined up already but no one had his or her hood up, so I guessed the rain finally took a time-out. I assumed this might be a tour tram but probably not gratis.

Breakfast first by 8:00 a.m. The dining room busy but not full. Hungrier than I realized, I chose porridge with a cup of prunes (for taste, silly), a couple slices of cheese, raisins and sliced almonds on top, and orange slices, kind of my usual breakfast plan at home. I couldn’t be happier. I must be losing my mind or my age is showing. Am I on a cruise or at home? I’m not a fan of eating out often. After a day or two, while travelling, I’m bored with restaurant meals. They all lack that distinct homemade flavour.

We realized we need not rush out to discover Skagway as our day was free till 8:30 pm. We took our time till after lunch. How big can Skagway be if it shuts down for the winter?

The power went off all over the ship around 9:45 am. The Captain apologized for the inconvenience over the intercom, then a flicker and all went black. No satellite reception since we woke. I tried my laptop. Nothing. The TV was dead, too.

We lazed and read the morning away, choosing lunch around 12:30 before heading to explore Skagway. Chicken salad hit the spot. We’d been eating too freely and decided to rein in the bad habit of gorging because we can.

Still no satellite reception after lunch, we pulled ourselves together for a stroll into town for Wifi, above all else. We worried Skagway might be black as well, but

Since we ventured out late in the day, we had no idea if we’d missed a free tour like the previous day (even by accident as we had been). I heard no announcements for the first-day tour and not for this second one.

Bored with the damp weather, we ventured out and met stragglers returning to the ship with name brand shopping bags. Their recommendations were golden. Tourist feedback is more valuable than anything advertised. I like real people rather than marketing gimmicks.

Quick Tips:

We strolled from the ship into the town of Skagway, a distance of under a mile but worth every step. The weather had improved and the day smiled for a change, the sky smeared with frothy clouds, the day dried by a generous sun. What a refreshing change. I’m not old enough for laid-back cruising; I’d rather walk, free to move around. The ship is too confining for me though there is a lot to do onboard. I’m not a water baby so the pool holds little attraction for me.

Our bright day trek looked like this along the way:

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Next on May 11th – North to Alaska: Shopping, Saloons, and Beer?

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles