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Whales and Eagles in Alaska

Elderhostel Trip Oct 31 - Nov 11, 2002

Don and Lois Porter


We joined a lively group of 38 hostelers (see all our happy faces here...), led by Bruce Weber and Karen Christner, for some unforgettable experiences in southeast Alaska. The trip was organized around the Sitka WhaleFest (Nov. 1-3) and the Alaska Bald Eagle Festival in Haines (Nov. 7-10). Between the two festivals, we spent several days in Skagway learning about the gold rush (the Klondike Gold Rush National Park is in Skagway). We passed through Juneau briefly twice, and got a quick tour that included the Mendenhall Glacier. Everywhere we went we were greeted by friendly folks telling us how amazingly lucky we were that the weather was so beautiful. We had no snow, no freezing temperatures, calm waters, and only one windy day! Everywhere we went we learned more about the beautiful Tlingit people and their arts.

This page is the starting point to view nearly 100 photos taken by the two of us along the way. Click on thumbnail versions to see larger versions of the photos.

Since Alaska is vast and largely unfamiliar to most of us, here's a little geographic help: (click on the small map images for larger versions):


State of Alaska (well, most of it -- I cut off the last few thousand miles of the Aleutian Islands...)

Thanks to: Perry-Castaneda Map Library, Univ. of Texas -

Southeast Alaska

Thanks to: Alaska Information Service (but it looks to me like it may have actually come from the National Geographic Society) --

Lynn Canal area, from Sitka to Skagway

This is a blowup of detail from the Southeast Alaska map above.

NOTE: You can click on this thumbnail to see a larger version of this map, and then click on areas of that map that we visited to see photos. Alternatively, you can follow the links below for each of the areas (Sitka, Skagway, etc.)

On Oct. 31 we took a scheduled Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to Sitka, where we enjoyed the WhaleFest Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. On Monday, Nov. 4 we flew Alaska Airlines on to Juneau, then after a quick bus tour, we took the Alaska Maritime Highway ferry from Juneau to Skagway. There we learned about the Gold Rush on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday, Nov. 7 we flew in small planes operated by Skagway Air to Haines. Most of us chose to take the optional extension of this flight to tour the Glacier Bay National Park by air, since it was a spectacularly clear and sunny day. We began our Alaska Bald Eagle Festival activities on Thursday with a bus trip to the Chilkat Valley Bald Eagle Preserve. The Bald Eagle Festival activities continued in Haines through Sunday, Nov. 10, when we boarded the ferry for Juneau. Our return flight left Juneau for Seattle Monday morning, Nov. 11. We were happy elderhostelers!

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