I’m back! So sorry it’s taken me such a long time to post again but a lack of internet for three weeks plus crazy prep for the next adventure will do that to a girl..thanks for being patient 🙂 Now I’d love to share some of the highlights of my incredible trip to Alaska a few weeks ago. First, the story behind the trip: I have been visiting a group home for adults with disabilities weekly while at college for the past three and a half years and this year was offered a chance to volunteer on a trip with the residents! I’m not going to lie I figured it would be a fun trip to the zoo or something, so you can imagine my shock when I found out they wanted me to go on a cruise to Alaska!! There ended up being 6 residents and 5 other staff members on the trip with me, and I am just so grateful and blessed to have gotten to join them. Now for the recap.. We all met up in Columbus and flew to Chicago for the first leg of our trip. From there we flew to Seattle, and I got to sit in an aisle row seat since I was hangin with our two guys who are in wheelchairs. It was really interesting for me to see how various places accommodate people in wheelchairs/with disabilities. I have to say, overall I was blown away by the kind words, support, and extra assistance offered by most people we met! Once we got to Seattle we boarded our ship and headed straight to the buffet for some delicious food. Let me tell ya, we did not go hungry..ever! We ate dinner (almost) every night in the formal dining room, and they were so accommodating with our group. I was registered as dairy free, and the head waiter would come to the table every night and show me the menu for the next night and let me make substitutions or special requests if I needed. It was actually quite funny how attentive he was, but I didn’t hate it! Some of the food highlights of the week included lots of fresh fruit also some yummy seafood and veggies And of course delicious desserts.. We spent most of the sea days just kind of relaxing and exploring the ship. There were tons of things on the schedule on the everyday but we mostly just hung out to not let the guys get too over-stimulated..which still happened kind of inevitably after three port days in a row during which we had crazy awesome excursions. Our first port day we were in Ketchikan, and visited Saxman Native Village to see the native dancers and their totem poles. I brought one of the residents up with me and we got to wear the costumes and perform a dance with the natives! They also had an honor pole for Abe Lincoln..if you didn’t know I have a serious crush on him..I just think Lincoln is a slammin’ hottie, what can I say? But it was really neat to hear their stories and see (and smell the cedar!) where the totem poles are carved now. The following morning we sailed through Tracy’s Arm which wound us through incredible glaciers and stunning scenery. I know it’s July and all but I couldn’t help but be surprised at how green things were..there were a bunch of small waterfalls all over the place too! I kept my eyes peeled for a bear along the shore, but no such luck. That afternoon we docked in Juneau and set about to some shopping before heading to our whale watching tour! Holy moly, talk about incredible. The pictures just can’t do it justice. We got to see some sea lions laying around in the sun, which apparently is about all they like to do! We were even told that the coast guard has to come spray them off the buoy with a fire hose every year just to clean the surface! We even got to see whales bubble feeding, which meant there were about a dozen in a pod all coming up for fish at the same time! I didn’t get a great picture but it was quite the sight to see.
Our final port day was in Skagway, and we got to take an amazing ride on the White Pass Yukon Trail railroad through the mountains. The residents were starting to get pretty exhausted and overstimulates by all the change in the routine and excitement at this point in the week, but we still managed to have a lot of fun and enjoy the stunning scenery.
We went over bridges (fun fact: I used to be petrified of driving over bridges..I’m mostly over it!), through tunnels, and around the mountain to hear all sorts of fun facts and of course see the sights.
We had some fun hanging out between the train cars and catching the breeze…note the sundress- it was a beautiful sunny day and probably at least 75 degrees! I thought this was Alaska?! Not complaining..
Overall it was an unforgettable week and I had so much fun both with the staff and residents. I not only got to experience an incredible cruise, but grew in new ways in terms of working with individuals with disabilities. I feel so blessed and beyond grateful that I got to share in these memories, so a huge thank you goes out to all who helped make it possible!!