FIVE FAB­U­LOUS SHORE EX­CUR­SIONS

The Queensland Times - - WEEKEND -

Many cruises to Alaska are seven-day In­side Pas­sage round trips from Van­cou­ver or Seat­tle, call­ing at Juneau, Ketchikan and Sk­ag­way, as well as scenic cruis­ing in Glacier Bay and Tracy Arm Fjord. Longer trips may go to Whit­tier – near An­chor­age – tak­ing in Col­lege Fjord with its many glaciers.

1. Ketchikan – Take a 25-minute float­plane ride over forests to Neets Bay in Ton­gass Na­tional For­est. A rain­for­est bush­walk ends at Neets Bay Creek, where black bears gather to dine on large salmon they’ve swiped out of the wa­ter as they swim up­stream to spawn.

2. Ketchikan – On a half-day tour, take a guided walk through the Alaska Rain­for­est Sanc­tu­ary on an el­e­vated board­walk for a chance to see salmon, black bears and bald ea­gles. See a his­toric sawmill and ob­serve a mas­ter in­dige­nous totem pole carver at work. Then head to the el­e­gant Ge­orge In­let Lodge for a feast of fresh Dun­geness crab fol­lowed by a rau­cous crab shell stack­ing com­pe­ti­tion.

3. Sk­ag­way – At the Red Onion Sa­loon, cos­tumed “madams” greet guests with a garter and a gold miner’s break­fast of scram­bled eggs with the works. De­light in provoca­tive tales of Klondike Kate, Di­a­mond Tooth Lil and other “soiled doves” in the gold rush bor­dello. Jour­ney up the Klondike High­way to spec­tac­u­lar scenery at the Yukon Sus­pen­sion Bridge.

4. Sk­ag­way – Take the wheelchair­friendly White Pass Scenic Rail­way from the dock for a nar­rated 65km round trip on the his­toric nar­row-gauge rail­road. The White Pass and Yukon Route was built against enor­mous odds through rugged ter­rain from 1898–1900, dur­ing the Klondike Gold Rush, and now is an In­ter­na­tional His­toric Civil En­gi­neer­ing Land­mark, an hon­our shared with the Eif­fel Tower, the Panama Canal and the Statue of Lib­erty. The route passes Bridal Veil Falls, In­spi­ra­tion Point and Dead Horse Gulch, with views of moun­tains, glaciers, gorges, wa­ter­falls and the orig­i­nal Klondike Trail.

5. Juneau – Drive to view the huge Men­den­hall Glacier, fed from an ice field high above Juneau in Ton­gass Na­tional Park. Walk the trails, keep­ing an eye out for wildlife in­clud­ing beavers, ea­gles, salmon, por­cu­pines and black bears. Then take a har­bour cruise to view hump­back whales as well as killer whales, sea li­ons, Dall’s por­poises, har­bour seals and sea birds.

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