At sea, the first day, we explored our surroundings. Another perk to our location was being within two easy stair climbs to the 7th deck which was open for walking around the ship out-of-doors. We took advantage of the walks to talk together, watch the sea and coastal views, and fulfill Libby's Fitbit requirement steps. Besides good food every night, there were shows to see and group games to try. The buffet on the 11th deck became our breakfast spot. What a spread to start the day!
It was exciting to wake up Monday morning and see Ketchikan, our first stop, out of our cabin window.
Knowing the ship was entering a narrow passageway early the next morning with promise of seeing a glacier, our ship city of 4,000 residents was awake at 5:30 am with coffee cups and cameras in hand. It truly was an awesome site. Rugged mountains towered on either side of the water as we pointed to the icy, blue glacier ahead. Our large vessel couldn't travel too close, but here are some of the views we were able to capture.
In spite of the rain, we gained fascinating knowledge about dog sleds, the dogs who pull them and the Iditorad race. Our guide had raced 3 times with his best placing at 50th out of close to 90 mushers. The dogs are trained to be athletes and thus, have sleek bodies that don't look like the stereotypical Husky. Each dog has booties for each foot when racing. This keeps ice from packing between their toes and protects them on the rough trail. Each driver carefully calculates his times of rest and how fast he can go given the weather conditions and stamina of the dogs. Supplies for himself and the dogs are sent ahead to villages along the trail. Success depends largely on the trust relationship between the musher and his dogs. Although, dog teams start the race with an average of 16 dogs, not all will endure the 1,000 mile trip.
After grueling James with questions we went out to the acre of field where maybe a hundred dogs, each with their own house were howling to be harnessed for action. James hooked his team to a cart and the dogs pulled us for a short ride. Before we left the camp we got to hold puppies who would be groomed for future dog teams.
the first woman to win the Iditorad in 1985.
How fascinating to here her story, and
how harrowing her 18 day trip!
We somehow missed the glacier excursion that afternoon, but got in on the salmon bake. Yum! Fresh grilled salmon and a nice buffet to compliment the fish. The meal took place in a camp setting with picnic tables under awnings and little heaters attached to the poles holding up the awnings. The warmth felt nice. After the meal we walked to a waterfall.
more to come...