Tag Archives: cruise

Postcard from Telluride

Finishing up our summer travels, we spent 2 weeks in Telluride, Colorado. It had been about 10 years since we last visited Telluride, I had forgotten how beautiful the town is. If you would like to see a slideshow of pictures we took while in Telluride, click here.

Welcome to Telluride

In fact, I would say Telluride and the surrounding area is probably the most beautiful mountain area in America, based on all of our travels.

Bridal Veil Telluride

Telluride is pretty remote. It takes 6 to 7 hours to get there from Denver and once there, it is a true mountain town. There are no major chains (Starbucks, Walmart (thank God), etc), so you better stock up on things before you get there.

Lake around Telluride

You come to Telluride to unwind or take in some outdoor sports. There are lots of mountain biking and hiking trails. However, riding a road bike is a bit of a challenge here, with only about 3 miles of paved trails. The town is small, but it has lots of cool boutique shops.

Telluride

Telluride has a lower and upper mountain level. The lower part of Telluride is the town and about 2,000 feet upwards is a town called Mountain Village (that’s where we stayed). Oprah Winfrey has land up there and plans to build something in the future. The houses are spectacular and they have a beautiful golf course in Mountain Village (too spendy for me, they wanted $195 a round).

Mountain Village

Opposite to Mountain Village is a high mountain range where Tom Cruise owns a house. It’s now for sale for $59 million, a bit out of our price range. The picture below is on a road that leads up to where his house is, as you can see it’s incredibly picturesque.

Road to Tom Cruises house

One of the attractions of Telluride and surrounding towns are old ghost towns left after the mining dried up. We visited Animas Forks Ghost Town and several others around the Ouray area.

Animas Forks Animas Forks Cabin Animas Forks Animas Forks

Animas Forks

I will leave you with some pictures from our hike up to Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride. If you get a chance to visit Telluride, I highly recommend it.

Bridal Veil Telluride Waterfall across the road in Bridal Veil Falls Base of Bridal Veil Falls Top of Bridal Veil Falls

About this Blog

This blog chronicles the travels of Steve and Lynn Miller, a couple that retired early after selling their software company. If you would like to sign up to receive these blog posts via email, scroll to the top  right sidebar of this page and enter your email address.

If you like this blog, you may also like Steve’s We Retired Early blog where he blogs about lifestyle freedom, financial independence and technology.

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Glaciers and Dog Sleds in Alaska

Visiting Alaska – The Final American Frontier

Alaska has been on the bucket list for a while now so we took an incredibly calm Norwegian Sun cruise from Vancouver to Alaska via the inner passage.

Norwegian Sun

Norwegian Sun

Our 11 day route took us to Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, and then onto a land tour in Denali National Park.  We are not really cruisers but we may change our minds after this trip.  The cruise had great food, great shows and incredible views.

Our Alaskan route

Our Alaskan route

If you would like to see a slideshow of this trip, click here: http://www.webetripping.com/Gallery_USA_Alaska.asp

Ketchikan

After 2 days of sailing, we arrived at Ketchikan, a small town with a population of 8,000 and aptly named the “Salmon Capital of the World”. While we were there, we saw more salmon coming into the bay than I have ever seen — they lined the top of the water.

Ketchikan

Ketchikan

Ketchikan

Ketchikan

Ketchikan was home to a thriving Native American population in the early days and boasts more totem poles than anywhere in North America.  There is still a small population of Native Americans  (just under 17%) living here and they are very proud people with a strong heritage. When we visited, we witnessed a tribal dance and they allowed me to participate.

Steve attempting a tribal dance

Steve attempting a tribal dance

I was struck by the beautiful totem poles and art pieces. We attended a presentation by one of the artisans that continue to create totem poles for other towns.

Our final excursion here was to attend a lumberjack show.  OK, it sounds corny (and parts of it were), but these guys are great athletes with skill and agility.

Lumberjacks

Lumberjacks

Juneau

In Juneau, we had an incredible excursion where we took a helicopter up to the top of a glacier where dog sleds were awaiting our arrival. The ride up was breathtaking, with incredible 360 degree views.

Once we landed, we met the friendly Alaskan huskies before embarking on a several mile ride upon the glacier in the dog sled. Many of these dogs have participated in the Iditarod, a yearly 1,024 mile dog sled adventure across Alaska. You may notice that many of the dogs look more like muts than Siberian Huskies. That is true, they are mixed but are chosen for speed and endurance.

IMG_0503 IMG_0517 IMG_0546 IMG_0543 IMG_0506

Our final excursion in Juneau was to visit the Alaska Brewery, home of the best Amber Ale I’ve ever had.

Alaska Brewing

Alaska Brewing

Skagway

In Skagway, we met a team that participates in the Iditarod and petted new Alaskan Husky puppies.

DSC_0104 DSC_0111

At this site, they had a room that was refrigerated to 40 degrees below zero to show how it might feel if in the Alaskan wilderness. We threw on big coats and hung out for about 5 minutes in the brutally cold room.  Invigorating!

Lynn in 40 degrees below cold

Lynn in 40 degrees below cold

We also took a chance at panning for gold. Altogether Lynn and I found about $20 worth of gold.

Panning for gold

Panning for gold

Panning for gold

Panning for gold

Our final excursion was a photographer’s tour where we ventured into Canada to take some cool landscape pictures.

Landscapes

Landscapes

Landscapes

Landscapes

Landscapes

Landscapes

Landscapes

Landscapes

Glaciers in Glacier Bay

The most thrilling part of the cruise was visiting the incredible glaciers. Our captain was incredible, he was able to maneuver the ship so that everyone could get great pictures of each glacier. We saw all the glaciers in Glacier Bay and woke the next day to Humboldt Glacier. We hung out at each  glacier for about an hour, saw the glaciers crumbling into the sea with grandiose sounds that reminded me of thunder.

Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay

Humboldt Glacier

Humboldt Glacier

Humboldt Glacier

Humboldt Glacier

Humboldt Glacier

Humboldt Glacier

Humboldt Glacier

Humboldt Glacier

Denali Land Tour

After leaving the cruise ship, we went straight into a 4 day land tour where we visited Anchorage, Denali National Park, and Talkeetna. Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska with a population of about 300,000. It felt like a small town that was heavily dependent on tourism.

Anchorage Alaska

Anchorage Alaska

Anchorage Alaska

Anchorage Alaska

At Denali National Park, we participated in a 7 hour tour of the park where we saw caribou, moose, grizzly bears, and many birds of prey. The highlight for us was seeing Mount McKinley, the largest mountain in North America at 20,320 feet. The guide said that only 30% of the people that visit Denali get a good view of McKinley because of the clouds. We were lucky to be in that 30%, as we enjoyed great views.

Mount McKinley

Mount McKinley

Moose antlers are heavy!

Moose antlers are heavy!

Denali National Park

Denali National Park

On our way back to Anchorage, we rode the train to a town called Talkeetna. The TV show “Northern  Exposure” was modeled after this town but was actually filmed in Roslyn Washington. Their claim to fame is that they elected a cat mayor of the town 15 years ago and we were able to visit where he hangs out in the gift shop. They like him because he never raises taxes and lets government stay out of people’s lives. Hmm, he must be a republican!

Train to Talkeetna

Train to Talkeetna

The Mayor

The Mayor

Talkeetna

Talkeetna

Talkeetna

Talkeetna

Well that concludes our 3 month summer vacation. We are now returning to Florida to enjoy the rest of the summer, the fall, and then hunker down for the winter. I hope you enjoyed these posts.