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  1. #21

    Default Fantastic help!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaidjen View Post
    Although, here in Juneau there are plenty of bears and the first time I saw one was in the parking lot of Costco!
    Fantastic story and a fantasticly helpful post... thanks so much! It has allowed me to start formulating a little bit of a plan in my head for my post Anchorage trip. There is no better advice than that of a local so I thank you.

    The cruise looks awesome but, sadly, is a little out of reach both in terms of time and (particularly) money. I definately plan on finding a cheaper alternative for this however. Glacier Bay looks very interesting indeed.

    I'm kinda hoping to see some of the wildlife in its natural surroundings (though hopefully not too closely!) but the zoo sounds like it has potential. Thanks for the tip.

    What is in Skagway? Is it worth a visit? I was told that I had to visit but I think they may have been talking about the area in general rather than the town in particular?

    What I was thinking, based on the advice offered, is maybe something a little like this:

    30th July (am) - Fly: Anchorage - Juneau
    31st July - 1st August Juneau
    2nd August - Glacier Bay
    3rd August (pm) - Fly to Skagway
    4th August (pm) - 8th August (am) - Ferry: Skagway - Bellingham
    9th August - Fly: Bellingham - Las Vegas

    Do you think that would work?

    I wasn't particularly planning on renting a car if I could help it. Do you think I would benefit from doing this (and in which towns?) or will I get by just fine with public transport and/or a good pair of hiking boots?

    Do you think I will need a cabin on the ferry? It has been suggested that I could just pitch my tent in an area on the deck of the ferry. What are your thoughts on that? I will be on foot and will only have my backpack with m. How many ferries run south each week? Is it possible to get off one ferry for the night and then hop on another the following day?

    Thanks again for the help and suggestions!

  2. Default Juneau and Skagway

    Your itinerary looks like it could work depending on the activities that you plan to do in Juneau, Glacier Bay and Skagway.

    In Juneau, renting a car is not really a must. The public transportation is pretty good and a lot of tourist take the bus from one end of the route to the other and back...at a $1.50 each person this is a good and cheap way to actually see Juneau (takes about 2-3 hours for the whole round trip).
    However, it won't take you to directly to the Mendenhall Glacier and the Shrine of St. Therese (which I forgot to mention before) where you can also see a lot of whales (the Shrine). You can, however, take the bus and ask the driver where is the nearest stop to the Mendenhall Glacier and walk from there. It is a good long walk...about 10-15 blocks or so one way. Another alternative are the cabs that offer a tour of Juneau during summers and I think they just charge a flat rate but I am not sure how much. Actually, from the airport you can walk to the bus stop...about a block away. Here is the bus schedule.

    I did a little research on alternative ways to get to Glacier Bay NP and I found out that Alaska Airlines actually have a flight to Gustavus (during summers) and from Gustavus it is just a hop, skip and a jump away from Glacier Bay.

    I'm not sure how many hotels/motels/inns they have in Gustavus but it is a pretty small town. Here is the website of Gustavus Inn and they also do tours of Glacier Bay:

    As far as Skagway goes, I was there last October and it is a small but pretty town. We used it as our gateway to get to Canada and then eventually the continental US. It has a historic, old feeling to it. From the Ferry terminal you would see the Yukon railway, the train and then lots of nature. Maybe because we went there in the fall and the season is over, so I was able to go around town (on foot) in about an hour. The Mile Zero B&B is a good place to stay at and the rooms are really nice and clean. And, I don't think you would need to rent a car here because it is a small place and you can really get from point A to point B on foot.

    The ferry goes to Bellingham only once a week. Here's how the ferry runs from Bellingham:

    1. Bellingham
    2. Ketchikan
    3. Wrangell
    4. Petersburg
    5. Juneau
    6. Haines
    7. Skagway

    and then it turns around and does the order in reverse starting with Skagway and then back.

    However, I am providing the ferry's summer 2008 schedule because there are several ferries that go from town to town and this might help you in your itinerary:

    You don't have to get a cabin in the ferry. I guess it is just more convenient that way. They have lockers provided for your valuables in case you did not get a cabin. However, if you are camping make sure you are there early and set up your spot as soon as possible because there can be a lot of campers (depending on the day) and the space provided for camping is limited. I think it is only on the second and third level of the ferry.

    Also, hate to say it, but there are times that the ferry breaks down and so it is always good to have a back up plan or leave enough time in your itinerary for these emergencies. Usually, it gets fixed pretty fast (4 hrs or so) but sometimes they actually have passengers transfer to another ferry, depending on the location. It doesn't happen often but it happens.

    Hope this helps!
    Last edited by AZBuck; 02-27-2008 at 04:28 PM. Reason: Preferred link format

  3. Default Skagway

    I attached a photo of the train in Skagway that I was talking about from my last post.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #24

    Default Still unsure...

    Thanks once again for the information. I'm still totally unsure about the ferry ride down to Bellingham. The more I hear the more I think I should spend more time up in Alaska and then fly drect to Las Vegas. But then I'll miss out on some unique scenery. The alternative, I guess, would be to skip Skagway and just concentrate on Anchorage, Glacier Bay and Juneau. hmmm. What do you guys think?

  5. Default Skipping Skagway

    Hmmm....well, Skagway is pretty but as I said it is pretty small. On the practical side of trip planning I think that skipping Skagway is not a bad idea. Also, to save time, taking a plane instead of the ferry would actually help you spend more time in Alaska (or other areas that you like to visit) but then you would miss the scenery and chance to get a glimpse of the other towns in Alaska (although briefly).

    Good Luck in your planning and travel :)

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,319

    Default Choices suck sometimes, don't they?

    Ya know, Craig, people pay big money to do cruises from Seattle to Alaska. And I've known numerous people who have done the ferry who rave about it. You have a big trip ahead of you with lots of driving and plane trips. They always have tales of interesting people they've met and fun activities, like playing cards or board games, etc. with people they've met, people jamming on guitars and other instruments, etc. I think it all sounds like a hoot. I'm thinking this might be a bit a relaxing and enjoyable respite from the go-go-go you're going to have most of the rest of your trip.

    But, then again, more time in Alaska might be good, too.

    Tough choice but I don't think you can make a wrong one.

  7. #27

    Default

    Funny how different places leave different impressions with folk.

    Skagway stood out for me because of its potent history - Klondike Gold Rush, Chilkoot Trail, Soapy Smith, The Call of the Wild, White Pass railway for instance.

    So much happened in such a short time involving human endeavour – good and bad. The hardships must have been immense.

    Incidentally visited Skagway on a day road trip from Whitehorse.

  8. #28

    Default Decisions, decisions...

    Quote Originally Posted by Judy View Post
    Tough choice but I don't think you can make a wrong one.
    Let's hope not! I'm still unsure what to do so I think I'll leave the decision for now. I know what people are saying about the cabin situation though so I know I don't have for ever to decide.

    Thanks for the input guys!

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,319

    Default Maybe try communal living?

    Many people enjoy camping out on deck or inside the common areas and enjoy the trip just fine without having a cabin. I have to admit that I think I'm getting a tad old and cranky for that option myself, but you're a young buck still! Just something to consider. I hear it's a lot of fun.

  10. #30

    Default Camping out

    I've got no issue with camping out on deck (apart from having to buy a tent as I was planning to ditch mine before heading to Alaska because I'm limited on luggage on the Trek America tour) but I'm wondering if all the tent places would be full by the time the boat arrived to load at Juneau?

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