Read more about the article Rapid City South Dakota – Spelunking, Bison and Patriotic Fervour
Bison roaming free

Rapid City South Dakota – Spelunking, Bison and Patriotic Fervour

Staying in Rapid City South Dakota gives you the chance to explore two National Parks and Mount Rushmore.  We set off early this morning headed for Wind Cave for a spot of spelunking. It was a long and winding road through the prairie to get there. The cave is situated where plains meet mountain, so we had lovely views of the Black Hills of South Dakota covered in ponderosa pine and also the vast sweeping expanse of prairie. The landscape is soft and undulating - all colours of pale green and gold - like a rich tapestry you could reach out and touch - only you couldn't because there is just so much of it!

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Read more about the article On the road again … Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore

On the road again … Mount Rushmore

We have a long drive ahead of us today from Denver to Rapid City where we will be able to tick the Must Do Mount Rushmore off our bucket list. I would have liked to spend another day in Denver. There is a lot to see here. the Money Museum would have been interesting, but it was shut on a Sunday. There is a big Arts Museum and lots of History Museums too.

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Read more about the article Denver In 1 Day
Clock Tower Denver

Denver In 1 Day

Denver in 1 Day - How best to tackle it?!  We started by renting a car. This wasn't our original plan, but the heat was high as early as 7am this morning, so the amount of ground we wanted to cover would have been exhausting without some wheels. Taxis downtown are about $20 anyway, so the car hire covers its costs quite quickly. It was easy as there was an Avis desk in the hotel lobby.

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Read more about the article Safe arrival in Denver – another adventure begins
Hilton Double Tree Denver Shuttle Bus

Safe arrival in Denver – another adventure begins

Denver airport covers an area of 53 miles. It is the largest airport in the States apparently - massive! The free shuttle bus took us to the Hilton Double Tree in half an hour, driving through wide open prairie country - This was a surprise - I had expected it to be all built up? The hotel is 5 miles from Downtown Denver, so we haven't actually had a glimpse of the Mile High City yet.

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Read more about the article Bear Tracking in Ketchikan
Gotcha!

Bear Tracking in Ketchikan

Today, we boarded a bus and then a small boat to take us to Neet's Bay. Bear tracking in Ketchikan is not difficult!  There is a not-profit-salmon hatchery based there, which makes it good territory for bear tracking. Keeping a plentiful supply of salmon going is very important to the isolated communities in this area, which is known as the salmon capital of Alaska. Apart from providing a good food source generally, there is money t be made from sport fishing, which is a popular passtime here.  We saw a large black bear almost immediately we arrived at the bay.

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Read more about the article Trip Highlight – Dining at the Chef’s Table on the Sapphire Princess
Chef Antonio with Lobster Margaritas

Trip Highlight – Dining at the Chef’s Table on the Sapphire Princess

Tonight, we were due to meet the chef and maître d' and 8 other passengers for hors d'oeuvres in the galley (kitchen) at 7 to begin an indulgent dining experience.  Dining at the Chef's Table on the Sapphire Princess was one of the big highlights of our trip and a definite "Must Do" if you can secure yourself a place.

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Read more about the article Exploring Alaska Gold Rush Country
Alaska Gold Rush Packing List - All a man needs for a year

Exploring Alaska Gold Rush Country

Exploring Gold Rush Country - In an attempt to prevent starvation, the authorities at the time of the gold rush required all men to carry all their requirements with them for a whole year so that they wouldn't have to depend on any other man for survival. It was a good job that they were self sufficient as there was stiff competition on the tail and a reluctance to help out a fellow stampeder. They let their horses die on the road, which was littered with horse carcasses in places. Carrying a year's supplies entailed many trips backwards and forwards up the trail - men would have to retrace their steps 20 to 40 times, depending on the size of the load they were prepared to carry each time.

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Read more about the article Basking Seals in Glacier Bay
Basking Seals

Basking Seals in Glacier Bay

What left a lasting impression of Glacier Bay for me was the sound of it. You could hear the glacier almost crunching as it creeped icily into the sea. Occasionally, you could hear a sound like a thunderstorm when it calved. You could hear the screams of gulls and seabirds too, which seemed to echo around in the otherwise still air of the icy bay.

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Read more about the article Hubbard Glacier – Totally Awesome!
Hubbard Glacier

Hubbard Glacier – Totally Awesome!

with my camera a bit more today - nice to have the time to do that properly! We sailed past an iceberg or two and then came face to face with the beauty of Hubbard Glacier. It was totally awesome - I have seen nothing like this before and it was definitely a highlight of the trip so far. It appears to be a beautiful fluorescent blue in places, which is apparently because when the light hits the compacted ice, long wavelength colours (reds) are absorbed whilst short wavelength colours (blues) reflect back through the ice to your eyes.

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Read more about the article En voyage to the Sapphire Princess
The Sapphire Princess - Whittier

En voyage to the Sapphire Princess

Princess Cruises - Sapphire Princess - Accommodation Review. When I say cabin, that is something of an understatement... We have a large, comfy bed, a lovely bathroom with a deep bath, a lounge area and, best of all, a huge balcony that wraps itself around the front of the ship with a dining table and chairs, 2 steamer chairs and still plenty of room to walk around! Flowers, fruit and a full bar - I could get used to this!

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Read more about the article Goldilocks and the 3 Bears
Three Brown Bears - Where is Goldilocks?

Goldilocks and the 3 Bears

Goldilocks and the 3 bears ... We were rewarded by seeing a family of three brown grisly bears on the journey back to civilisation out of Denali National Park. It was amazing to see this bear family walk across the road right behind the bus as though we were part of the landscape.

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Read more about the article Quigley Ridge – Time for a Real Hike
Quigley Ridge

Quigley Ridge – Time for a Real Hike

Yesterday, we were just practising. We missed the cut off for the guided hike sign up - 11 people got their names down before us and that is the maximum limit. So, we decided to go it alone - well - not quite alone. We found 3 other brave explorers to hike with us - Vash, Lindsay and a guy named Doug. Armed with pepper spray, a hand drawn map (?) and borrowed walking poles, we set off to climb up to Quigley Ridge.

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Read more about the article Denali Backcountry Lodge – Exploring the Real Alaska with Fanny Quigley
Dew on Mountain Tundra

Denali Backcountry Lodge – Exploring the Real Alaska with Fanny Quigley

OK - this is the wilderness, but I was kidding about the accommodation. We were in the Denali Backcountry Lodge, which has warm rooms, comfortable beds and hot showers. Thank goodness, because it is cold now. There was a frost this morning. The bit about the key was true though - it still feels odd to leave your room unlocked all day - even out here!

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Read more about the article Denali National Park – Into the Alaskan Wilderness …
The accommodation is a bit basic - but then, this is the wilderness!

Denali National Park – Into the Alaskan Wilderness …

We had a morning to kill before the bus ride to the Denali Backcountry Lodge, so we took the shuttle up to the Denali National Park Visitor Centre and learned a bit more about the flora and fauna and the history of the gold rush. I particularly liked the recipe for blueberry pie made famous by one of the early pioneers, Fanny Quigley. First, catch, your bear ... - see the photo for the full recipe! Life was very tough here.

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Read more about the article Take the Great Railroad to the Alaskan Wilderness in Denali National Park
The Great Alaskan Railroad

Take the Great Railroad to the Alaskan Wilderness in Denali National Park

Today, we took the great Alaskan Railroad train to Denali National Park. Check in was 7.15 for an 8.15 departure. It took 7 and a half hours to arrive at the park entrance. There is only bus a day that goes into the wilderness - no other vehicles are allowed in the park - so we stayed overnight at Denali Cabins at the Park Entrance. 

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Read more about the article Exploring Downtown Anchorage
Beautiful Alaskan Wildflower Quilt

Exploring Downtown Anchorage

Alaska is such a big state!   To get to the heart of it - Anchorage - we took an early taxi yesterday to Sea-Tac airport to catch a 10 am Alaska Airlines flight. The flight took around 3 hours 40 minutes.  We are booked into the Embassy Suites, Anchorage for 2 nights.  The hotel is in Midtown Anchorage, but there is a free airport shuttle Downtown, so exploring is easy.

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Read more about the article Seattle in 1 Day
Children playing in the Fountain

Seattle in 1 Day

Seattle proved to be very possible in one day - with the benefit of some careful planning and research in advance, of course. One fully packed day, with plenty to see and do.

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Alaska Itinerary

We start our big trip to Alaska in less than a month now. I always really love the planning and looking forward bit of a trip though.  Sometimes, I think the looking forward and then re-living the memories when you get back are as much fun as the actual trip itself?! Read More for our Alaska Itinerary.

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