Phillips 26 Glaciers Cruise

After spending the night in Anchorage, we headed to Whittier for another cruise through Prince William Sound with Phillips Cruises & Tours. This cruise was also supposed to be 6 hours. I was almost afraid to say anything about the 6 hours for fear my mom would complain. But then she asked, so I had no choice but to tell the truth.

This cruise was different. The weather wasn’t much different though. Of course I’ve mentioned before that for such cruises/trips, you really shouldn’t worry about things like rain as long as it’s not a deadly storm. We didn’t see whales on this trip, but we did see sea otters and steller sea lions along with tufted puffins and other sea birds. We also saw porpoises, but I gave up on trying to get a shot of one. They’re just too quick. I also managed to get a shot of a bald eagle, shown in the featured image, though he’s far away. At least it’s proof that I was there and saw it with my own eyes.

And on this cruise we also saw more ice dotting the waters closer to the glacier. And speaking of glaciers, we were able to see different types of glaciers and little waterfalls making their way down the mountains. What I learned on this trip is that I have become fascinated with glaciers and icebergs.

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We visited a glacier that calves a lot. Guess what? It calved, and I missed it. So close! What could I possibly do? I have an idea though. I need to make more trips like this one.

 

Kenai Fjords: Part 1

Sea life, glaciers, waterfalls, mountains and more! Where to begin? I guess at the beginning. First of all, I have to say that this was one of the best cruises of this type I’ve ever been on. It was 6 hours and I had my concerns. Would I get bored, cold? Would my mom complain that it was too long or too cold? By the time we got started, I didn’t care. But please don’t tell my mom that.

We took the MMT Kenai Fjords National Park Cruise. Even before we boarded, I was happy. It was cloudy and it looked like there was a 100% chance for rain. There was no need to worry which I knew from a previous experience in Malaysia. It was sprinkling. It was super cloudy. There was fog. It was everything that had the makings of a potentially miserable trip. But with an enclosed area, we knew we’d at least be warm and dry.

 

Sitting on the boat waiting to get moving, I snapped pictures of boats. What a shock! But as we sat there waiting, we also saw sea otters. I think they were sea otters. Or maybe there was one sea otter and one seal. Honestly, they confuse me at times. Not to worry, there would be plenty of wildlife I did actually recognize. For example, bald eagles. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a shot of a pair of bald eagles because there were just too many people to compete with. I do believe my dad got one, but he did not share it with me.

As we moved through the water, we alerted to any wildlife that was spotted. And one of the first we saw was the puffin. I managed to get a few shots of them, but I am much too embarrassed to post those here because the pictures suck :). But we also saw steller sea lions, porpoises, and whales. And it was magnificent. The porpoises were much too quick for me to catch though I may have a picture of some water they splashed in. But the whales, oh the whales! We went on two different whale watching trips in the past couple of years and managed to see one whale on each trip. We saw at least seven humpback whales on this one. I was so excited. Though I enjoyed our previous whale watching experiences, this was definitely on a whole other level. Most of the whales we saw were in pairs as seen below.

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We also got to see glaciers and one in particular which often calves. The blue hues in the glacier were brilliant. I didn’t know that “ice” could be so mesmerizing. As we moved closer to the glacier, glacial ice seemingly hopped on deck. People were grabbing ice, taking pictures. We could hear the ice moving which was surreal. Looking at it, you’d never imagine that the ice is actually moving. And it calved! Twice! And all I managed to see was the movement in the water because as my dad said, “By the time you hear it, it’s already in the water. I present to you “Holgate Glacier“.

 

 

You know what? I was really liking this Alaska trip at this point. And this was only the first part of the cruise. It doesn’t include the trip back to Seward.

Bright and early on June 29th we left Lake Louise for Johnston Canyon. We wanted to beat the crowds, and we did 😉. When we got there there was only one other car there. And it was c-h-i-l-l-y. I had on several layers to prepare for the cool, brisk air. And then we were off. As I mentioned before, we were there early. And my husband actually found it slightly creepy. I don’t know what he would have thought of my non-hike in Thailand then. That was actually beyond creepy, especially since I’m a chicken and there were monkeys swinging everywhere. But, back to Johnston Canyon.

I had big plans for us when we started. I wanted to make it to the upper falls since I’d read that the extra trek would be worth it. Well, I guess I have to take everyone’s word for it because we did not make it. Perhaps you may have read about us being out of shape and know the deal. We just didn’t have it in us to continue though I wished it had been otherwise.

If anyone is in Banff, I highly recommend a hike through Johnston Canyon. It is an amazing place to see. But I must say, you do need to be in shape. We were tired before we even made it to the lower falls which was only a half-mile hike. That said, a lot is also uphill. Fortunately, there are points to stop and rest as well as take in all that the creator has created.

Look at what you see before even reaching the lower falls.

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Honestly, I would have been happy to stop at that point. Listening to the water rushing through the canyon was relaxing. The palette of pale blues and white dancing around each and every crevass and embracing the rocks is something we should all be so lucky to experience. And when I see the never ending beauty in Banff and other parts of Canada, I often wish Canada was home for me.

And finally we reached the upper falls. ​​

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​​As you can tell from the clip, we soon headed back. We tried, with zero success, to continue on but another mile just wasn’t happening.

I am glad that I got to see at least some of Johnston Canyon. And who knows, maybe we’ll be fortunate enough to visit again.

Quebec City: Montmorency Falls

It was the 7th of July and we decided to go out to visit the Montmorency Falls. It was chilly and it looked like it was going to rain, but that no longer stops us from going out after our trip to Malaysia last summer.

The falls weren’t far from the hotel and were easy to find. We got there and began discussing the climb or cable car ride up. My legs were still sore from Niagara, so the cable car was the obvious choice. I would’ve paid any amount they asked for as long as it meant I wouldn’t be climbing anything.

It wasn’t very busy when we got there, so we hopped on the cable car up with another family.

This is the view as we made our way up to the top. It should be noted, if you don’t know already, that Montmorency Falls are actually higher than the falls at Niagara.

At the top, it’s very nice. We stopped for a few photos because that’s what I do.


I was so happy to see flowers.

It was a nice stop at the top with a wonderful view down below. You can see the bridge to Ile d’Orleans.

It was also a good break from the exhausting climb to the top. As if we climbed, ;).

Finally, we made our way to the suspension bridge that goes over the falls and takes you to the other side.


My dad and husband were excited to go across. My mom? Not so much. Apparently, bridges freak her out. Once upon a time, they freaked me out as well. But I decided that life requires us to build and cross bridges from time to time. Sometimes it’s the only way to see and understand what’s on the other side. Anyway, she opted to go across. If you’re afraid of heights or water, the view from the bridge might be a wee bit scary.

My mom may have been cursing me under her breath the entire time she was walking across. But I lived, and contrary to what she may have thought initially, she did, too.

Once on the other side, we took the path leading to the stairs down which seemed to be a million. But going down is much easier than going up. We stopped along the way and took videos and pictures as the sky dripped and the falls sprayed us.


You should definitely have a rain jacket/poncho if you’re going to see the falls. As I mentioned earlier, it was cool out. And we got wet. We didn’t mind. We live in the desert, so cool and wet were ideal. And by the time we got to the bottom, there was nothing dry. Ahh, good times!

Next stop, Ile d’Orleans….

Niagara Falls, ON

On July 4, 2016, my husband and I left Saudi Arabia for Toronto, Canada. It was an uneventful flight, thankfully. The last thing you need is drama ahead of or during a 12 hour flight. It was slightly different than the flight we normally take to JFK. First of all, I found a couple flight attendants to be rude, and the food wasn’t quite as good. But there are definitely worse things such as flying on Turkish Airlines to JFK.

We arrived in Toronto where my parents picked us up. We drove to Niagara Falls, which was a short drive. We stayed at the Hilton which was a nice choice because it was so close to the falls, and our room had a view of the falls. We could see both the Canadian and American falls which was awesome.

Niagara Falls doesn’t get old. I’d be happy to go again and again. However, I definitely do not recommend going during the summer months. It was crowded when we went in late September 2014 to the American side, and it was so much worse this time around. It’s so touristy. The crowds of people make it a little less enjoyable in my opinion.

But, you simply can’t beat this site…

We were only there for 2 nights, so we didn’t actually do everything we planned. And I must admit I was too lazy to do some things anyway. I spend most of the year standing in front of a class or sitting in front of a computer looking for things to use in class. My legs were in shock.

After we left Niagara, we were off to Quebec City, sore legs and all.

 

 

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