Today can best be summed up with the phrase “adorable railroad town with scrumptious lavender shortbread.” Or in other words, Skagway.
But hold up! I’ve got several days of exploring Alaska to share, and Skagway comes last. First, there was Ketchikan.
As I promised you guys, I indeed went hiking in Ketchikan this week, having thoroughly explored the town last week. It was so nice to get off the ship and throw myself into the gorgeous forests of Alaska. Trees, dirt, fresh air…I was in heaven. Admittedly, it was quite the adventure (and workout!) just to FIND the Deer Mountain trailhead. But I felt so invigorated, and I couldn’t wait to dig into such a beautiful mountainside.
The trail itself was wonderful. I’ve been on my share of hiking trails in Colorado, but I loved the way this trail used the slate beds of the mountain as both a natural trail and crumbled up as the material for the manmade portions. Beautiful logs were used as steps in places, as shown below, and it was a beautifully maintained trail. And boy, did it give Colorado trails a run for their money: 2500 feet of elevation in three miles, whee! I had to take plenty of breaks to catch my breath, though it was such a lush feast for the eyes that I didn’t mind at all.
However…I underestimated the rain. What started off as a light mist/drizzle turned into straight-up rain and eventually a downpour. By the time I reached the “scenic waypoint” (which was just an opening of the trees over a white expanse of cloud, given the weather, though it’s apparently breathtaking on nice days), I was sopping wet from my hooded jacket to my socks and shoes. On finding out that I was only a third of the way to the top (what?!), I promptly gave up and headed back to the ship, squelching my way through the streets of Ketchikan.
I have to say, I tried so hard to be positive and to embrace the rain as part of the delight of being outside. And to some extent, it worked, since I didn’t become a grumpy steam engine of discontent until a mere ten minutes away from the ship. But I was soaked, cold, and hungry. (60 degrees is lovely until you’re dripping wet.) I have never been so glad to peel off those wet clothes and drown my misery in a hot shower and a bowl of Ramen noodles.
Don’t worry – I definitely plan to go hiking again. However, I have a feeling I’ll be more hesitant on rainy days. I wish rain didn’t affect my enjoyment of hiking! But being cold and wet is just too much for pathetic, suburban me.
In fact, I hope to go hiking in Juneau next week. I finally got off the boat in Alaska’s quaint little capital city, and while I can’t speak very highly of the architecture (the government buildings kinda said “community college” to me), I can gush about the mountains surrounding it! Juneau Mountain (above) is just breathtaking, with lots of dramatic waterfalls cascading down its lush green sides. The city did a beautiful job with its landscaping, too; lots of brightly colored wildflowers complement the dark green backdrop of its mountainous setting.
I also succeeded in getting off the boat here in Skagway, as you may have guessed. While it earned the title of my favorite Alaskan setting (at least, from the promenade decks), I was delighted to discover that it’s my favorite Alaskan town, now, too! IT’S SO CUTE. I mean, just look at how ridiculously adorable its streets are:
Actually, it reminds me very, very much of Colorado. Colorado Springs (where I grew up) is very suburban-normal, but the little mountain towns nearby, like Old Colorado City, Manitou Springs, and Woodland Park are much more historic, and I suppose Skagway is very reminiscent of those frontier towns to me. I have a feeling I will ride the train in Skagway before the summer is out!
The delicious aesthetic of the town was, of course, augmented by the aforementioned lavender shortbread, which was my impulse buy at Sweet Mama’s, where my fellow singers and I had gone to buy cupcakes. I had a vanilla cupcake as well, and it was wonderfully moist and flavorful, but my heart belongs to lavender. And it was SUCH good lavender shortbread. I’m trying to think if I’ve ever had lavender shortbread; I did make a whole lavender-themed Easter meal one year. In any case, it was truly scrumptious (sorry if that gets the song stuck in your head), and its vintage simplicity was the perfect accompaniment to the visual delight of Skagway itself.
We’ve got two sea days ahead of us, which will hopefully be filled with plenty of exercise (the food, oh the food!). I’d put my money on indulgent amounts of reading instead, but I always like to think I’ll be virtuous. Then on Sunday, I’ve got friends coming to sail with me next week. I’M SO EXCITED!!! Hopefully I’ll have more pictures with people in them next week, hehe, rather than all this nature and landscape.
Have a great weekend!
Though I am an employee of Princess Cruises, all opinions are mine only and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.