The second day! Or, the first day of the cruise! Continuing from where I left off with my terrible night of sleep, I intended to wake up at 7am Anchorage time. I set my alarm for 7am, forgot that it was still on CA time, and the alarm went off at 6am Anchorage time (this sadly happened several times on my vacation). Ten minutes into my morning routine, I realized I had gotten up an hour early (and essentially made my mom wake up an hour early as well). But it worked out in the end, because we tried to do so much on Saturday, I don’t think we could have done so if we woke up any later.
My mom, Laura and I ended up going for a walk at 7am at the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. This was highly reviewed as an urban walk in Anchorage, and is a 11 mile path that ends in Kincaid Park. It’s hyped as having great views. I thought we’d be able to follow along the path via car, and then just park and stop when we wanted to walk, but that turned out to be a wrong assumption. It ends up being pretty far from any driving road, as it borders the Anchorage airport. We were able to stop at Point Woronzof, which I didn’t find all that exciting. We then decided to just head straight into Kincaid Park. I envisioned something more like Golden Park, where there’s tons of driving paths and you just stop and can start walking. Instead, it ended up being just one main road you drive down, there’s a few parking lots here and there, and the road eventually just stops in the middle of the park next to a giant disc golf course.
Nothing is marked at all in the park – there was a map of the disc golf course holes, and then a map of the entire city of Anchorage, but no map of the park itself. It was nice just to get fresh air, but technically, all we saw were greenery and occasionally some glimpses of water. Yelp reviews said they had seen bears and moose here – we saw some sort of moose-like creature (without the antlers) but nothing else.
We walked for about an hour before heading back. From here, my family and I packed up and checked out of the hotel. We made a stop of House of Breads and bought a really delicious herb loaf. They offered samples which ended up being huge slices of bread. My whole family was pretty delighted with it. Then we did the drive down AK-1, which I had done the prior night, but was still quite enjoyable the second time around. This time I knew which stops to do, although I did incidentally do two additional stops. We also got to stop at the Bird Ridge Trail, which I had passed before, thinking it was just a trail head. It ended being a really nice stop with bathrooms and a lookout, and was probably one of the better stops. Then we turned around because it started drizzling.
We stopped at Costco to get gas (I got a Malibu for the day and it seemed incredibly gas inefficient – 6.3 gallons for a mere 200 miles!) and then my family delighted in just going through the aisles. The notable differences were a much larger selection of giant blocks of cheese, reindeer sausage, more types of salmon, much larger cuts of meat, much more generous sample sizes, and a ton of outdoor gear. Like, a GIANT tent that looked like it could sleep 10. And a ton of kayaks. Food court wise, they sold beef chili, which my brother got. He also got a fruit smoothie (they seem to only have berry smoothies in our Costcos).
We headed to the airport to catch our shuttle to Whittier, the starting port for the cruise. It’s actually quite a long drive (over an hour, since there’s a one-way tunnel we have to pass through). Unfortunately, the 1pm shuttle sold out, and we had to wait for the 2pm one. After the wait, my family was the first to get onto the shuttle and immediately sat in the very front on the right side. This gave us great views of the AK-1, the same highway I had already been on twice!!! This time we got a tour guide who seemed pretty knowledgeable and spoke in a very calm, soothing voice. Unfortunately, this “hike all day then sleep three hours then continue on with a full day’s activities” finally got to me and I fell asleep for most of the ride and missed nearly the entirety of his narration.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the shuttle drive was that we had to go through a 2.5mi one-way tunnel. Trains run through the same tunnel, so our tour guide said it takes about half an hour for each side to go through. They line cars up based on whether it’s a bus, car, motorcycle, etc and then buses get to go first, motorcycles go last. Each car is spaced out, and will have to drive through this narrow tunnel. He said there are times in the summer when the weather is really nice, and everyone comes out, and he’s had to wait over an hour just to get through the tunnel.
We arrived at the port which reminds me of a little cove. The boarding process took a while, since we aren’t preferred guests or anything. It’s kind of a shit show at the beginning where tons of tour groups arrive simultaneously and everyone is cutting one another. The line moved relatively quickly after we made our way up to the desk though, so off we went. Upon arrival on the ship, we went straight to our rooms. My mom was pretty delighted in the size of the room, as she thought it would be much smaller. My mom and I are rooming together, my brother and dad in a different room. We’re not right next to each other, but are on the same floor, which I think is better, because then we don’t feel as obligated to do everything together.
That first night, you just head to the dining room at any time, so we went right after we got on. I ordered a pork belly, which I gave away like 4/5 of. We also got … hmm it’s already escaping me because I’ve eaten SO MUCH food… I remember getting two scoops of a butter almond ice cream, which I must have eaten with some sort of molten chocolate cake. I imagine I got two appetizers, though I can’t remember what…
After this, we went back to our rooms and had to get ready for the safety session which was pretty meaningless as I currently still don’t really know where I’d have to go in an emergency or how to properly put on my lifejacket. Oh well.
After this, I went to the gym and… that’s it? Man the days really melt away. I know Jessica, Laura and I went to do TV Tunes trivia, which Jessica excelled at and I completely failed at because all of the shows were so old.
I looked through all my photos and it turns out this is the only one I liked from the day.