When SVV and I went with my family on a Holland America cruise to Alaska two years ago, we couldn’t have gotten luckier: brilliant blue skies, a shining sun and dramatic clouds (most days).
That said, my favorite days were definitely the ones spent at sea sailing through Glacier Bay, as unfortunately I found the port of calls too touristy for my liking—until we reached Sitka, that is.
Unlike Ketchikan and even Juneau to an extent, airbrush stores and trinket stops didn’t litter the dock. There weren’t loads of other ships anchored offshore—just our little 1,000-person boat—nor were there hundreds of tourists milling about. At times, we felt like we had the whole little fishing and mining town to ourselves.
Sitka itself was so small, there was no need to book an excursion. You could wander around town and find your way in the middle of a totem pole forest. (Note: If you’re planning an Alaskan cruise anytime soon, don’t let them sucker you into paying for tours unless it’s something really cool like glacier hiking or a helicopter ride.)
Many of the structures were more than 100 years old, and it was just such an odd feeling wandering through a deserted forest and then oh! stumbling upon 20-foot-tall totem pole by 20-foot-tall totem pole.
Each more varied and intricate than the last.
Alas, I don’t know what any of them mean, but can you imagine being the person who took years out of your life to carve such a marvel? I don’t even have the patience to finish knitting a simple hat in one sitting.