Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Cruising the Inside Passage: Icy Straight Point
We arrived in Icy Straight Point the day after Ketchikan. We hadn't planned an excursion here and that turned out to be a good choice because this is the most beautiful port for roaming around, taking in the seriously stunning view, and eating doughnuts. Okay, maybe eating the doughnuts isn't something you have on your bucket list, but you should add it right now.
Our day began at breakfast with my husband spotting whales right between the ship and shore. He's a regular Captain Ahab, apparently. Our ship was so close to shore it was hard to believe the water could possibly be deep enough for them to swim between the two but later we learned that immediately offshore the drop off is 160 feet deep. Okay, no wading then!
We were greeted at the port by a group of teenagers demonstrating their native dances. Their colorful garb with the breathtaking landscape all around made me feel like I was in Alaska more profoundly than I had up until that moment.
We were immediately in love with this landscape. Everywhere we looked there was a level of natural beauty it is hard to describe. We were headed for a little hike through a rain forest nearby but stopped first to walk along the rocky shore. You have never seen a group of adults more excited about rocks. With every step we discovered treasures so beautiful that they looked unnatural, magical even. We picked up a few to bring home and photographed some of the beauties too big to carry. I am actually embarrassed by how many rock pictures I have. I do love details when I travel.
I'm only sharing these two. The straight lines and colors just dazzled us!
The trail through the beautiful temperate rain forest was the perfect introduction to the area.
Sometimes you just have to take that cliche touristy photo.
The whales were visible from time to time throughout the day. When they appeared everything and everyone stopped to take in the sight.
My favorite style of photography. Some charming detail in the front with a sweeping vista in the background.
Like the rocks, there are a ton of these but I'm sparing you.
Okay, y'all. Let's talk dandelions. Alaskan dandelions are on steroids. They are everywhere, HUGE, and treated like wildflowers instead of weeds. Maybe this is how beautiful they get when everyone isn't constantly spraying them with Round Up. Okay, so dandelions were also a theme of the day.
I'm a little disappointed that I didn't do a better job of taking pictures that give you a better feeling of the beautiful and charming complex they have built at this port.
For a description and history of this area check out, Icy Straight Point/Hoonah, Alaska: Our History.
It was well thought and and adorably constructed. There were restaurants, the old cannery had been turned into a museum and was filled with darling shops. There were outdoor eating areas, the longest zip line in the world, and then there was this.
This is the Salvation Army Doughnut Hut. Or as I called it, Icy Straight Mecca. They are making the tiniest most delicious doughnuts ever right there and shaking them in a bag of sugar. There are various flavors of sugar like Maple Bacon. MAPLE BACON! And apple cider, cinnamon, vanilla, and about a dozen other flavors. Here's their link on Yelp. This is where Paleo comes to die.
My favorite thing about this area was how photogenic it all was. There was a stark charm that reminded me of other arctic areas of the world. But as you can tell from the photos I really struggled with the glaring light of Alaska in May.
You can take a bus into Hoonah for a round trip of five dollars. It was so beautiful though that we walked back. Against a fierce icy wind the whole time. Walking to Hoonah and catching the bus back would have been a better plan.
We stopped into the Icy Straight Point Brewery while wondering around. So adorable.
On the walk back we passed this sweet cemetery covered with dandelions and forget me nots. Again, I have a ridiculous amount of photos of this graveyard.
Okay, maybe the walk back was worth it even with the pounding cold wind.
I couldn't resist trying to photograph an Alaskan bumblebee. You guessed it. So many photos.
This is one of my favorite photos of the day. I think it symbolizes Alaska perfectly.
What could possibly be a better way to end a day than this? Whales even swam by one last time while we were sitting here recounting our day and saying "We're sitting by a fire in Alaska!"