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Deaf Alaska Land & Cruise Tour
July 14 - 29, 2012

Some of us arrived in Fairbanks a day prior to the start of the land tour. Thus, we could take advantage of a wonderful river boat tour starting in Fairbanks. Also, arriving earlier made it possible to get adjusted to the time change and the mesmerizing midnight sun.

Riverboat

Chena Indian Village
Train Restaurant

Enjoying Breakfast in the Train Restaurant

After everybody arrived in Fairbanks, we started our exciting trip. Via bus, we went to the train station and embarked the Wilderness Express train. We were fortunate and had our own car that including a downstairs restaurant for all legs that we traveled via train. We started our voyage with a breakfast while passing the beautiful scenery. Back on the upper level of the car, we appreciated our tour guides commentary regarding Alaska's history, nature, and culture. At lunch time, we disembarked the train and went on a Denali Natural History bus tour. We were lucky enough to see some wild life during this special five hour narrated trip. Our overnight hotel was the McKinley Village Lodge.

We had free time in the morning in Denali. But most of us decided to go to Husky Homestead, home of Iditarod Champion Jeff King. We were greeted by cuddly puppies and we enjoyed a very educational lecture about the training of the dogs. Jeff King's compelling stories about the Iditarod allowed us to share an intimate view of the Alaskan Husky. We embarked the Wilderness Express train shortly before lunch time. Lunch was served soon. While enjoying a delicious lunch, we marveled at the snow covered mountains. Later, we enjoyed a narrated presentation about the area that we passed. Talkeetna was our final destination for this day. We stayed at the Talkeetna Alaska Lodge for one night. Here we were lucky enough to get a glimps of Mount McKinley, North America's tallest mountain reaching a hights of 20,320 feet.



Iditarod Champion Jeff King

Iditarod Champion Jeff King

Waterford

Our group shortly before the train ride from Denali to Talkeetna.


Since our train was not scheduled to depart until the afternoon, we had plenty of time to discover Talkeetna. It is a small town that once served as a miner's supply center and a riverboat station. Main Street is the only paved road in town. We gathered in the Historical Society Museum that consists of four restored buildings including the town's 1935 schoolhouse and the Section House. The Section House displays a model of Mt. McKinley and its climbing routes. There, a ranger gave a presentation about the history of climbing North America's tallest mountain. Late in the afternoon, we returned to the Wilderness Express where a delicious dinner was waiting for us. We departed for Anchorage where we arrived in the evening. The bus took us to the Marriott. Still, we had time for a stroll through Anchorage, the city that is located between the Chugach National Forest and the Cook Inlet.



At noon, we left Anchorage via bus heading towards Alyeska. On the way to our hotel, we stopped at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. Close up, we were able to see moose, bear, elk and, bison. Our early arrival at the Hotel Alyeska allowed us to take the cable car up to the mountain top and enjoy a marvelous view with a blue sky and sunshine. The snow covered mountain peaks reminded us of the importance of Alyeska as a ski resort.

Alyeska

Alyeska
Seals in Resurrection Bay

Seals in Resurrection Bay
While leaving the beautiful area of Alyeska, we followed the road to Seward via bus enjoying the impressive world of mountains on the left and right. Seward is located at Resurrection Bay. The town was founded in 1903 when an ice-free port was needed to be connected to the railroad system. Soon, the town prospered as a cargo and fishing port. The 1964 earthquake destroyed 90 percent of the town that was entirely rebuilt including the harbor with an earthquake proof dock. During the Resurrection Bay Wildlife Cruise we saw whales, seals, bald eagles and other wildlife.
We departed the Seward Windsong Lodge for the Seward Cruise Terminal in the morning. After a quick and smooth check-in at the ship, we had plenty of time to explore our ship, the Millennium. We could also step off the ship and spent a little bit more time in Seward, visiting the Alaska SeaLife Center or do some shopping. The ship set sail at 8 PM still in broad daylight.
Seward

Seward

Hubbard Glacier

We are approaching Hubbard Glacier

We enjoy the Day at Sea by participating in different onboard activities in the morning. During the early afternoon, we started to slowly approach Hubbard Glacier. After getting to the closest point to the glacier, the ship stopped and we had many opportunities to take pictures. Also, we were able to see seals that were floating on ice in the water not too far from the ship.

Most of us went on a tour to Mendenhall Glacier during our stay in Juneau, Alaska's capital. After the termination of our tour, there was still time to discover the town that was founded during the gold rush in the late 1800s. The city is the home of the Patsy Ann dog statue that was erected at the waterfront in 1992. Patsy Ann was a deaf dog who could tell when ships were on the way to Juneau before they sounded their horns. She loved to meet the ships at the docks and soon became known as the "Official Boat Greeter of Juneau".

Patsy Ann

Patsy Ann
"The Official Boat Greeter of Juneau"
White Pass Railway Traincar

White Pass Railway Traincar



Skagway is a town that reminds visitors of the Klondike Gold Rush era. It is a place that offers visitors a nice variety of activities and entertainment. Our group embarked the White Pass Scenic Railway in the port area and traveled up the mountains to the White Pass. After arriving back in town, an enjoyable stroll through Main Street offered many opportunities for shopping or for learning about the history of the town. During the course of the years, shop fronts and other buildings have been restored. Thus, the visitor has the impression as if they were walking through the boomtown of the late 1890s.

We embarked a tram in Icy Strait Point that took us through the southeast Alaskan rainforest and along the shoreline where Chichagof Island meets the waters of Icy Strait. We learned about the ecological and cultural significance of the forest and the daily life of the Native Tlingit people. Icy Strait Point was originally built as a Salmon Cannery. The old cannery closed in 1999. Then, the area was changed into a cruise port area with shops, historical displays and outdoor activities.
Icy Strait Point

Icy Strait Point
Ketchikan Creek

Ketchikan Creek

Ketchikan, the "Salmon Capital of the World" was our next port of call. The town is also known for the world's largest collection of standing totem poles. One of the places where many totem poles can be found is Saxman Village that we visited during our tour. Members of the native community welcomed us at the Beaver Clan House with traditional songs and dances. At the Saxman Totem Park we saw the largest gatherings of totem poles in the world. Back in town, we walked along Ketchikan Creek that is framed with a wooden boardwalks, a nice pedestrian area with small shops and galleries.
The last full day of our cruise was a very relaxing one along the Inside Passage. For most of us, the morning started slow with a sumptuous Brunch Buffet. Afterwards, many onboard activities kept us busy. Wedding Anniversary Celebration

Wedding Anniversary Celebration

Vancouver

Vancouver
The next day was for some of us a day of travel in order to get home while others enjoyed an all-day Vancouver, Whistler & Nature Tour in comfortable 4x4 SUV's. The tour started in downtown Vancouver and a quick stop in world-famous Stanley Park. Then, the drive took us Howe Sound, the continent's most southern fjord, one of the most scenic highways in the world. After a late BBQ lunch on the shore of a lake we continued with a nice drive through scenic landscape in order to get back to Vancouver where we stayed for two nights.
Since our hotel, the Marriott Pinnacle, was conveniently located close to the waterfront and downtown convention area, it was easy for us to hop on the shuttle to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. We stayed in the park for several hours and had a great time crossing the suspension bridge, following the winding nature trails, completing the Treetop walk and experiencing the Cliffwalk. We went back to town and gathered for dinner in a nice, trendy downtown restaurant in order to conclude our wonderful trip. Treetop Walk

Treetop Walk


Group Picture

Group Picture
Picture: Robert Strohmeier

Appreciation Letter from my Clients

Appreciation Letter from my Clients

Appreciation Letter from my Clients

Appreciation Letter from my Clients

Appreciation Letter from my Clients

Appreciation Letter from my Clients

What our clients said after the tour:

Dear Kerstin,
I want to thank you for being a wonderful travel agent that I had ever met. Oh yes, we were very lucky to have a good weather. It was a wonderful vacation! Also I want to thank you for helping us with flight schedule this morning. You are an amazing person! I do look forward to going to one of your trips someday. Millie Ann

We want to thank you for all of your very kindness thoughtful and make sure we all enjoyed our trip. You are so amazing lady. Of course we will go back to another trip with you but when?? We do hope very soon if all is well with all of us in the family. We sure do miss our friends so much. They all are so great and fun to be with...Ron and Gail

Ms Fox, thank you for being a wonderful travel agent for the deaf and blind and hard of hearing people who love to travel. We know you will have many successful trips. Your effort in arranging the trips and getting some excellent interpreters does make a difference for those who love to travel. I also hope to travel more in the future,rather more of wild adventures!!. Part of my trip was great because I had met you, many old and NEW friends. We all certainly had a blast time. Do look forward to seeing you somewhere later,. Happy traveling Ruby

Hi Kerstin
We want to say how so grateful we are to you for the super job you did for us on our Alaska trip. The interpreters are great! Thank you ! We very much enjoyed the beautiful scenery and flying over five huge glaciers which inspired us. We are still talking about the trip and the fun we had with new and old friends. I will start with scrap booking as soon as the photos arrived. Jerry and Irene

Kerstin, both of us really enjoyed the Alaska travel so much, thanks to your hard work and the great interpreter services! Nancy and skc

Helllooo everyone - this was a wonderful and most unforgettable trip to Alaska & Vancouver BC. We're fortunate to have Alaska as part of our country as it's so precious. Andrea

Hi Kerstin,
You did a great job. We do really appreciated so much. Thank you for the bottle of wine and ILY chocolate pop on the candle cup. ... The bus driver, tour guide, interpreters and deaf people are very friendly. Alaska is beautiful. It was awesome to see God's handwork at the glaciers, waterfalls mountains, wildlife and gorges, etc. It was fun to ride the railways. We had a great time on the cruise. We hope to see you next cruise. Thank you for all the wonderful memories. Fondly, Terry and Cyndi

Hi Kerstin and everyone!
Kerstin, we want to thank you for doing such an awesome job of planning both the Alaskan land and cruise tours! Thank you too for the bottle of wine! The interpreters on hand were wonderful to make our trip even more enjoyable with them interpreting the many informative/narrative talks! Friends, both old and new, Ed and I hope to see you again, either on another fun tour OR at DSA 2013 in Baltimore! Cheers! Lois and Ed : )

Kerstin, I am sure you hear this comment of your wonderful work many times. But we do appreciate your time and plans with us. The interpreters were wonderful too. Alaska is a different world. A beautiful place to visit! Thanks so much again! Holly and Jim M.

First of all, THANK YOU so much for making our trip to Alaska a memorable one! As always, I enjoy traveling in your group. The interpreters were very very good as expected. We were blessed with great weather and minimal rainy days. Also I was so surprised getting your postcard when I arrived home. The highlights of this trip are of course - Mt McKinley, glaciers, riverboat in Fairbanks, Mt Alyeska, Husky Homestead tour, 2 day stay in Vancouver and many more. Again thank you for your hard work! I will see you again soon! :-) Lynn St.

Hi Kerstin and friends,
I want to thank you Kerstin for a wonderful trip to Alaska and Vancouver. The interpreters were great. I had a wonderful time. It was good to meet old and new friends! Smile:), Joyce


Contact Kerstin's Travel to book your next cruise by sending an e-mail to kerstin@kerstinstravel.com



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