Queen of the Rails Goes to Alaska

Editor’s Note:

My 81 year old mother, who now likes to known as “Queen of the Rails” is on a three week adventure that will take her from Hamilton, Ontario to Prince George, British Columbia to meet up with a tour to Queen Charlotte Island. She then headed back to Vancouver with them, before heading out on her own to Bellingham, Washington, where she hooked up with a tour company that organized a ferry adventure (not a cruise ship) to  Skagway and Juneau in Alaska.

Then she takes the train to Whitehorse, in the Canada’s Yukon Territory for a few days and then bus to Edmonton and then Calgary.  Stay with us a bit then head back to Edmonton to get train back to Hamilton. For most of here trip she is staying in Hostels.

She is an inspiration to all of her children, grandchildren, her friends and ours too.  Received the email below and thought I’d share it with my “Everyday Tourist” readers.

June 13, 2013

Hi All from Juneau Alaska:

For some this is the first email you have received from me on my adventure I can only say weather has been great and the trip, train, ferry and hostels have been a true adventure.  So here are further adventures from "queen of the rails!" continues.

Yesterday I took a boat trip to Tracy Arm, which is a fiord and glacier. It was a 2.5 hour trip out and back so a little long but when we reached the glacier was so worth it. We sat for about hour and half watching and listening to incredible chunks of ice fall into the water. 

On the way we saw the most amazing iceberg even more incredible than in Iceland.  It was huge and just looked like a blue glass sculpture that you could see through. We saw five other amazing ones and of course hundreds of small ones and ice floes with harbor seals and their pups on them. We did see porpoises in the distance, artic terns (birds) and another bird that they said was "pigeon something" forget the second name but they were like puffins black and white with red feet really neat.

On the way back we were entertained with two humpback whales showing their tails and rolling over - a real bonus.

When I left the boat I headed to small cafe selling Russian dumplings.  We were treated to making these when I was on the Russian river cruise last year, amazing how the trips connect. The dumplings were very good.

Then back to the hostel, which is up a huge hill about the  elevation of the Jolley Cut (a road up the Niagara escarpment in Hamilton, about 500 ft elevation change) but much steeper. I had about two blocks still to go when a truck stopped to ask me if I knew where the hotel was. I didn’t but had a map so asked it they would take me up the hill (you really get desperate at times and I wasn’t sure I would make it) they said of course and took me to hostel. I showed them where the hotel was on my map so all was well.  I think my guardian angel sent them!

Today is a more relaxing, stopped in at the church, but mass is at 12 and I just can't climb that hill again until it is time to go back to the hostel so just made a visit to the church.  I met the priest (had seen him on Tuesday) while walking so had a chat and then I headed to the quilt store - Oh My Gosh what a wonderful place.  I had been in on Tuesday and looked around. Wanted to buy everything, but because I am overloaded had to limit myself, kept thinking that Whitehorse will have one so will wait.  Sure enough the sales clerk told me there is a great one there. I did buy a panel that is an interesting design by a neat famous artist from here, also a t-shirt something I never buy, but couldn't resist.  Then got out of there!!!

I am at the library now where I will sit and read my book until it is time to meet a lady I met on the boat who asked if I wanted to go the Shrine of St. Therese (anyone interested can check it out on the internet) also to the hanging gardens. There is no public transportation to take you to these places and taxis are very expensive, but she made a deal and we are going for $50.00 each but most tours are very expensive so not a bad deal - I couldn't have gone alone and what the heck its all part of the adventure.

Well I guess I have really run on this time but this email is sent to me to so I have a record of my adventure. Hope everyone is doing fine back there and you are enjoying some summer wherever you are. I have dragged my fleece, t-shirt, jacket everyday and never used them, so today I only packed a sweater. Bought a plastic poncho to ward off the rain - good gamble for $3.00

For those who missed my earlier emails the flowers here are incredible I have never seen such huge rhododendrons, there are tulips poppies of every colour, forget-me-nots and loads others.

Take care 

Queen of the Rails

 If you want to read Queen of the Rails' first blog click on Discovering Hosteling in your 70s 

Church at St. Therese a quiet place for contemplation and reflection.

beach at St. Therese Shrine 


Iceberg calfing at Tracy Arm

glacier at Tracy Arm

ice becomes abstract painting at Tracy Arm