Alaska 8/8: And Back to Canada
I love the way the wind blows your hair when you travel by ferry. I love the smell of the open ocean, the breathtaking 360 degree views, and the comfort of travel without having to navigate. When looking around it was easy to see how people could justify thousands of dollars to travel this channel by cruise. It was also easy to understand why thrifty people skipped on the luxuries and opted to purchase ferry tickets. The trip from Haines to Juneau is relatively short and before I knew it we were back on land.
Budget tip: If you've been wanting to travel to Alaska but are feeling a little deterred by the price of the cruise options, consider traveling by ferry. You can purchase tickets for a much more reasonable price and adapt the trip to your schedule.
There is something for everyone in Juneau, particularly if you enjoy spending time outside. It's a major ferry port and a bumping little town. There's plenty of kayaking, mountain biking, glacier viewing, whale watching, zip lining, fishing, every activity under the sun. We only had the day in town so we meandered up and down the streets visiting hip little coffee shops and the less busy museums. For a town of roughly 30,000 people that isn't accessible by road, it sure knew what was going on. It's big on my list of places to revisit.
The trip from Juneau to Prince Rupert included two nights by ferry, so when booking, I had included a stateroom for 75$/ night. Had I known that it was completely acceptable to pitch a tent on the sundeck, I probably would have saved the cash and chose to do that. After unloading my stuff into my room and seeing the exhausted look on other parents hunting down their kids I decided that I had made the right choice with the room. It's so nice to have a place to relax and unwind or read a book. It's especially appreciated when you have a quick and excited 2 year old who wants to climb all of the railings on the ferry.
Five A.M. comes early so our first stop after driving off of the ferry was, as any Canadian returning from America would make, Tim Hortons. We had a pretty tight schedule and needed to be back in Valemount that evening so we didn't make any unnecessary stops. Since that day was more of a grind than most, I buckled and let her watch Disney's "Mulan" on the iPad. She is an amazing traveler, she likes to read books and look at the scenery so that was actually the first time that she watched anything in the car. Finally, 10,000km later, we were reunited with my husband in the little mountain town of Valemount.
Highlights: Juneau, Ferry