Row by Row Experience: Alaska Trip 2
Continuing our journey through Alaska, we next went to Juneau. Juneau is the capital of Alaska. It was the second port we visited. (P2-1) I wanted to go straight to the quilt shop to get the shopping portion of the visit off the list and leave plenty of time to see part of this city. We visited Changing Tides which is a wonderful store, and their Row by Row has these fun laser cut Ravens as part of their design.
This is one of two stores in Juneau so I missed out seeing the other one called Raintree Quilting. I also missed one in Ketchikan. I freely admit that I have a fabric stash that is large, and I’m always anxious to add to it, so I am sorry I missed them. This started me thinking about how I would plan my time differently from now on. Changing Tides was also the first store to ask me if I would like them to ship my purchases home. I didn’t take them up on it. In retrospect, I should have said “yes” to the shipping home, but I wanted to have my fabric with me to look at and touch.
The fabric on the left is a Robert Kaufman fabric and the designer is Sue Coccia a wonderful Alaskan artist. She paints as well as designs fabric. I picked this one because I didn’t think I would find this down in the lower states. The fabric on the right is another Robert Kaufman called Midnight Sun piece with salmon and ravens all through it. The ravens are very symbolic for the native Alaskan people. They are very smart and adapt to all kinds of habitats. For more information go to this page
After shopping, Bob and I had a blissful time on Mt. Roberts walking around the wilderness seeing the wonders of nature. “Cars rise 1,800 feet from the cruise ship dock in downtown Juneau through the rain forest to the Mountain House, offering expansive views of Juneau and Gastineau Channel. The Mount Roberts Tramway is one of the most vertical tramways in the world and received the Governor’s Award for facility accessibility design.”
It goes up at a very steep angle and I, not being too great with looking straight down, went to the center of the tram both going up and coming back down. There are always people that love to be right at the windows; not me! I am just fine looking out but not straight down. Once up there and walking around, we saw a fabulous tree that Bob photographed for me to show the “Old Man’s Beard” all over it.
This tree and its beard will become one of my thread paintings; I loved it so much. “Old Man’s Beard” is in the same family as the moss that grows in the Southern regions of the United States. As we walked around the forest, we found an unusual Totem Pole carved into a tree.
I am guessing there is an audio tour because it had a plaque in front of the tree with a number on it. Next time I’m there I will access that tour to see what it is all about. At the end of our walk we came across a beautiful Bald Eagle named Lady Baltimore
who is blind in one eye. The Juneau Raptor Center cares for her year round. Lady B. is now part of an educational program to increase awareness of these beautiful birds and other wild animals that need care in captivity due to humans’ improper behavior. While on Mount Robert’s we enjoyed the overcast weather and the light rain, refreshing in contrast to our home in Southern California which has been in a huge drought for so many years! Walking through the woods of Mt. Roberts brought such a calming effect on me that I know I will come back here again and take another walk through these woods. http://www.juneauraptorcenter.org/
In the afternoon, we bought a tour package to see Mendenhall Glacier and go whale watching. We decided to buy our tours at each port instead buying it on the ship. There are many stalls in a row and you go up them and ask about tours. We were delighted when the sun came out, enhancing our enjoyment of the scenery!
Mendenhall Glacier was the first glacier of our trip, and we thought it was pretty spectacular. We didn’t have as much time there as we wanted, because we had to catch our bright green bus to the boat to see the whales. I have to explain that I have gone whale watching many times off of the coast of California, so I was a little skeptical at the beginning, but I am so happy that we went out to see them. When we go out to see the whales we were told about a rule that doesn’t allow the boats to get within 100 feet of these beautiful creatures or there will be a $10,000 fine. They told us they would be happy to go closer to them but they would charge your credit card first. No takers of course. First we saw Killer Whales, (P2-L) so sleek and fast, swimming with their big black fins sticking up. We saw three individuals. They don’t swim in groups like the Humpbacks. As we went further down the coast we found Humpback Whales, approximately twenty of them. They were bubble net hunting. (P2-M) The whales move underneath a school of very small fish. They go in a continuous circle blowing bubbles out their spouts. This confuses the fish and causes them to rise to the surface of the ocean. Then the matriarch whale goes up through the middle of the fish with her mouth wide open, and the other whales follow. We saw this amazing sight three times. To top off this wonderful display of teamwork, a couple Humpbacks showed us some fun breaching and flips! (1P2-N) On the way back to the dock we saw seals and Bald Eagles.
We got to know a couple of our fellow travelers on this tour and exchanged email addresses planning to share photos. We found out later that the whale watching tours in the morning had been disappointing, so we felt very fortunate.
Back we went to the ship for more great food and rest. Bob and I had had a fabulous day!