Thursday, September 4, 2014

Field Trip: Juneau and Glacier Bay National Park, AK

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It's finally time for the 2nd half of our Alaska Adventure.  For the first part, click here!  We started our morning in Anchorage (early morning...5 am)!  Jumped on an early flight and then was in Juneau before you could even take a restful nap!  Coming into Juneau looked the way you would think Alaska did...foggy and chilly.  We got all of our stuff and headed out the door.

We were picked up that morning by Above & Beyond Alaska to trek to the Mendenhall Glacier.  When I found these pictures of ice caves, early into our Alaska planning, I tried every way I could think of to get us a day-long detour in Juneau to see them ourselves.  I wasn't planning on the day we had!  Our 2 guides were great; we each got a huge pack, gear, crampons (to walk over ice), etc.  And then we were off.  It was a 2 1/2 - 3 hour walk to the glacier itself.  We stopped and ate lunch and kept on trekking.  We layered up at the base of the glacier and spent about 2 hours on the glacier itself.  We did some ice climbing and explored some really cool ice caves.  The walk back was killer and by the time we made it to our hotel, the Juneau Hotel (smartly named), no one could think, let alone move.

Surprisingly, we did move...onto dinner at Hangar on the Wharf, which is such a cool little spot right on the water.  We enjoyed watching the sparkly cruise ship lights and feasted on burgers and as much bread as the poor waitress could bring to the table. 

The next morning, we took advantage of the late check-out, rainy weather, and washers and dryers.  We did buckets full of laundry and then met around 11 am for brunch at the Sandpiper Cafe.  One of my favorite meals on the trip, this tiny little cafe was crowded!  I had the special which was french toast stuffed with blueberry-marscapone and topped with blackberries.  Can you just say "yum"?!

Then, we headed to the airport for our 14 minute (yes, you read that right) flight into Gustavus where we headed straight to Glacier Bay National Park.  While this hotel was nothing to be excited about,  the views were delicious.  The food was tasty and we ate at the hotel almost every night.

Our first day there, we booked a fishing charter that allowed us to see so much landscape in the icy straits it was unbelievable.  We fished for halibut and salmon.  I caught my very own King Salmon which was too cool to be believed.  Overall, the 8 of us fished out about 150 pounds of fish which were processed and shipped overnight to us when we got home.  Yes, we are going to be eating fish for the next year at least!!


The next day we got up early for a boat tour that took us to the John Hopkins Glacier, a rare sight we were told since most ships usually skip it.  It was beautiful and we got to see some calving (ice breaking off the iceberg).  We also saw bears, otters, sea lions, porpoises, and lots of puffins!!!  Puffins and penguins are two of my animal obsessions so no one was happier than I was when they showed up alongside the boat.

Our last evening we went to the Bear Track Inn, an unbelievably beautiful wooden inn on the other side of the island.  The food was fantastic and the waitstaff was lovely.  We couldn't have asked for a better ending to our trip.

Except of course, that wasn't the ending. How could it be?  It seems much too perfect, right?  Well, that's because IT WAS!  John and I missed our connecting flight out of Anchorage by, no joke, 3 minutes.  We ended up waiting around on standby for about 3 hours until finally at 1 am we got on a flight to Salt Lake City and hoped somehow we'd be able to get home to NYC.  Luckily, we did and it went quickly.  But it just figures that is how we ended our crazy Alaskan Adventure. 

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Welcome! I'm Dani (aka the Growing Foodie), just a girl balancing her career and passion for all things edible in NYC. I hope you'll join me in my adventures in life, through food. (Click for More)
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