2018-08-26 (Monday) AK, Denali – McKinley Chalet Resort – about 1AM Northern Lights (Page 3 of 3)

2018-08-26 (Monday) AK, Denali – McKinley Chalet Resort – about 1AM (Page 3 of 3) <only 4 pictures below>

– In Page 1, I described the trip to Alaska with pictures from Anchorage and Denali (minus the two untouched pictures of the Northern Lights that I will share here, and two software ‘enhanced’ pictures that I added).
— In Page 2, I described the trip to Alaska with pictures from the Cruise of the inside passage.
— Now, Page 3, will show the pictures that I took of the Northern Lights.

Living in Atlanta, I have never seen the northern lights. To many people who live in the northern sections of the United States, this is not a ‘Big Deal‘. However, somewhere in my mind, I decided that it was a “Big Deal” to me and I’ve always wanted to see them. I’ve seen many pictures of them and knew what to expect when they are available – I just really want to see them myself.
The McKinley Chalet Resort has a guest service that they will call your room when the northern lights are showing, if you want them to. I asked to be put on a list at the guest services desk and I received a call about 1AM. I had read that the northern lights are more often seen around the fall and spring depending on the solar wind and, of course – the weather (no cloud cover).
I’ve investigated websites that explain when there is higher probability of northern light activity and I had decided that it was ‘not worth it’ for me to make a separate trip to see them. However, I was in Alaska and the possibility of seeing them was available, so – I joined about 20 other people in the resort parking area looking up to the sky in the early morning. The room area of the resort had street lighting and someone in the group suggested that we move to the side of the rooms to get away from the street lights. I moved with the group and continued to look into the dark sky and have to admit that I didn’t see anything. Someone pointed to the horizon and I looked, but saw nothing. I carry my camera almost everywhere and had heard from someone that you can often see on a picture the light that is hard for your eyes to detect. So-o-o, I took a picture of the horizon. I slowly returned to my room and continued to look at the sky. I thought that I saw a sliver of green light above the horizon similar to what I had seen in pictures. It only appeared a few seconds. I had my camera in my hand and decided to take another picture. I returned to the room and looked at the pictures that I had taken and saw nothing but black exposure. I had wanted the experience of seeing the northern lights and now I had had the experience. I guess that I was somewhat satisfied at my glimpse of the light that I had seen.

When I returned home, I downloaded all of my Alaska pictures to my desktop computer in preparation for updating the ‘travel-blog’ that you are reading.  Much to my amazement, when I looked at the black pictures using the desktop, in the first picture, a green haze appeared on top of the visible mountains. I was really surprised.
Next, I looked at the second picture and realized that I was able to see the green sliver-of-light in the sky from the opposite horizon of the first picture. I was amazed again. I had seen only a few seconds of the light while viewing, but I had captured 2 pictures of what my eye didn’t clearly view.
Hope that you enjoy the pictures .. Look closely at the horizon for the dim-green aura – (I only took two pictures of the horizon, but am really happy that I was able to see something from them. Also, I am glad that I didn’t delete the pictures before viewing them on a desktop. There are two computer-enhanced pictures below the two ones that I added here. )

2018-08-25_AKDenali,McKinleyLodge_NorthernLights-PhotoShowsBetterThanMyView1
2018-08-25_AKDenali,McKinleyLodge_NorthernLights-PhotoShowsBetterThanMyView1
2018-08-25_AKDenali,McKinleyLodge_NorthernLights-PhotoShowsBetterThanMyView
2018-08-25_AKDenali,McKinleyLodge_NorthernLights-PhotoShowsBetterThanMyView

I use irfanview software with many of my pictures. (And Windows 10 software for the others.) Here is what the images look like after they have been ‘color enhanced’ using irfanview.  I would like to know which picture you like the best – i.e.  original or color-enhanced. (I used an Apple iPhone 6 for the original pictures.) 

2018-08-25_AKDenaliMcKinleyLodge_NorthernLights-PhotoShowsBetterThanMyView-adjusted
2018-08-25_AKDenaliMcKinleyLodge_NorthernLights-PhotoShowsBetterThanMyView-adjusted
2018-08-25_AKDenaliMcKinleyLodge_NorthernLights-PhotoShowsBetterThanMyView1-adjusted
2018-08-25_AKDenaliMcKinleyLodge_NorthernLights-PhotoShowsBetterThanMyView1-adjusted

 

  I really like pictures and I bought some postcards from a giftshop, so I decided to add them here —> Postcards that I bought (Picture Front)

Travel-Blog Webpost Conclusion:  I want to thank everyone for their part in making this trip wonderful for us. (1) The tour-guide and group that I traveled with, and the associated travel company who arranged our tickets and helped us check-in at the airport. (2) Holland America and their employees for a wonderful time on the dome-train, chalet lodge, drivers and cruise. Especially, thanks to our dining room servers Dadang and Mark; and our cruise room staff, Hengki and Agung. (3) To all of the excursion guides from all of the tourists along this trail, you have shared a wealth-of-information about your life and customs and we thank you. (4) Our group attended many talks, demonstrations, and shows  that we visited and we had too many people to remember their names, but we’ll always remember the great information that you shared with us and the great time that we had.  (5) Also, we thank many of the people who worked behind-the-scenes who helped make this trip memorable.  

<<As always, any comments that you have about the website would be appreciated. I have another website. It is about my 1971 MGB (old English 2-seater convertible-top car). The url address is : http://www.PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com 
Additional note: Since my posts have many pictures, it may take some time to load. Because of the pictures, it is best to view these webpages using a desktop (in my opinion. Because the size of the pictures will be larger.) >>

2018-08-27 AK, Seward (Page 2 of 3)

2018-08-31_AKKetchikan_-2
2018-08-31_AKKetchikan_-2

2018-08-27 AK, Seward (Page 2 of 3)
We arrived at the cruise ship about 5PM on 2018-08-26=Sunday night. At the processing center, we were checked for identification (passport) and security (metal detection). We were given a ‘ship-creditcard’ and our picture was taken so that we could be identified when we entered the ship. My roommate and I had to explore the ship a little when we first boarded. We eventually found our room and began to discover how to find what we wanted on the ship. Our first order-of-business was to find the dining room because we had a 5:30 seating. We met our fellow table diners and saw many of the others of the group nearby. All the meals on the ship was EXCELLENT and the servers worked hard to ensure that everyone was well-fed. We really enjoyed one another and, of course, I managed to gain considerable weight during the cruise.

Our first night on the ship proved to be interesting. The ship started the voyage about 9PM and by 1AM, both my roommate and I, admitted that “we didn’t feel very well”. I had bought some dramamine, in case that I had motion-sickness problems, but – at 1AM, I didn’t really want to get out-of-bed and look for medicine. My roommate admitted that she felt really-bad and we discussed options. We didn’t do anything that night, but decided to go to the medical area of the ship in the morning and ask if they recommended medication. Once I got to sleep, I rested alright. The next morning, my roommate and I went to medical area and told them about the motion-sickness. They said that we could go to the customer-service area and they would give us some pills. They didn’t say the name of the medication, but the package was from Medique (medi-medicine) and was medizine hydrocholoride 25mg. The purpose is “Antiemetic”. I’m not medically educated, but I took 2 pills at night and slept much better.

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Our first ‘day-at-sea’ was travel from Seward to near Glacier Bay. My roommate and I attended presentations on the area and had information about the area wildlife. Deck 10 – forward area was a glassed-in lounge with bar and books. For breakfast and lunch, we enjoyed the Lido deck – as most others did. Sometimes, it was a challenge finding a table that was available. Nevertheless, I had a good day and my roommate still was not well from motion-sickness. We gathered at early-dinner with others and she left after ordering her food. She said that she didn’t feel well and returned to the cabin to ‘settle-down’. She took some of the medication and we were better the second night.

The second morning, we were in Glacier Bay and enjoyed seeing the scenery. It was truly OUTSTANDING! The glacier that we saw, had the left-end small sheet of ice break away and fall into the bay. We looked for wildlife and enjoyed talking with others. We learned that the park-service only allows 2 ships-per-day in the bay. We had park-rangers come onboard and they showed how they came in a boat that traveled same speed of the ship and that they climbed a ladder to come onboard – while the ship continued to move! They talked about the park and their involvement. At night, we went to the Mainstage show and returned to the cabin afterward.

By the next day, we paid more attention to the elevator rugs – each day they were changed to tell everyone what day it was. Time seems to ‘float-by’ with the cruise. Our first ‘stop’ was at Haines. Several in our group had scheduled an excursion known as the Yukon Railway – from Skagway through White Pass to Carcross, YT (Yukon Territory, Canada). Well, the ferry that was supposed to take us from Haines to Skagway broke down and our excursion was cancelled. By the time that we found out, I decided that I wasn’t feeling well – maybe a little of motion-sickness of something caused me to ‘slow-down’. I decided to return to the cruise ship and explored whatever was available onboard. Others from the tour shopped and saw other things around the area and we had a lot to discuss at dinner – which was always delicious.

We cruised overnight to Juneau. We had previously scheduled the excursion = “dog mushing”. We met a bus driver who told us that we had a twenty-minute ride to the rainforest area nearby that hosted us. We had more light-rain and light-jacket weather. We rode in a 4-person cart, pulled by a team of dogs around a hilly area for a few miles. The cart could go fast and the musher at the back controlled the speed by a hand-brake and the direction by a hand-steering-rod. It was a fun ride and afterward, we learned more about the mushers and their dogs. They had about 100 dogs in the compound and the dogs are trained specifically to run in the Iditarod Race. After returning to the town, we shopped and enjoyed our time to look-around. Of course, we were onboard by dinner and went to a show at night. I hope that you enjoy the pictures that I shared…

Next stop was Ketchikan. Again, we had scheduled an excursion = “Saxman Native Village Tour”. Again, we met a bus driver who told us that we had a short ride. We first visited a building where there was a short-film about the Native Alaskans and their culture. Then, we walked about 300 yards through the rain-forest to their clan meeting-house. Their clans are known as either beavers or ravens and they are known for the totem poles that they carve. In the meeting-house, they danced in their regalia and told us more about the ways that they live. Outside, we were told more about the stories of the totem poles and that how some of their culture has been lost because the older generation is passing-away and the younger generation did not have the information preserved. Their language is verbal, and they are now writing it and teaching their children the language. They have obtained government sanction to preserve their culture. We were also allowed in a totem-pole workshop where a guide told us how they are made and painted. Hopefully, the pictures that I took will show more of the tour than I am able to describe in writing. (Again, we returned to town to shop a little, then made-it to the ship for dinner and the show.)

Our final day was spent ‘at-sea’. We cruised the inside passage and enjoyed both the view and the visible wildlife. (Note: the inside passage water is relatively calm.) I was on Deck 10-forward, i.e., the window-wall, and someone with binoculars spotted a whale spout. The whole area followed the spouts for as long as we could. We enjoyed the scenery, the other passengers and the food. It was a wonderful day. My roommate and I had reserved dinner in the ‘elegant’ restaurant known as the “Pinnacle”. We had filet minion with vegetables, a great chocolate dessert and wonderful service. We had a late-dining reservation and were too late for the mainstage show. Afterward, we returned to our room to pack and have our luggage ready for the morning pick-up. Our time on the ship was winding-down, but we had a great time and knew that it couldn’t last forever.

The morning brought disembarkment and waiting for our-turn. My roommate and I had somehow been separated by ‘color codes’ from our group, but the tour-director said that we would all end-up at the same place and that I shouldn’t worry. I had dreaded the process of gathering luggage and passing-through customs. We also had to go through border-control to enter the USA before we got onto a bus for the airport. However, there was a ship-full of people going through the same process, and the agents do it every week – so, they are very familiar with the drill. I was pleasantly surprised at how smooth it was. I was VERY HAPPY when it was over, we arrived at the Vancouver airport and joined with our group without any problems. We had a Delta flight to Salt Lake City, a short wait and the flight to Atlanta. The layover was good because it gave us a chance to get a snack and walk-around. In Atlanta, we gathered our luggage and our motorcoach driver loaded it onto the bus for us. We returned to the parking area and unloaded. The group disbanded quickly and I made it home about 2AM. I slept well at home in my familiar bed after a great trip to Alaska. Hope that you enjoy the pictures!
<<As always, any comments that you have about the website would be appreciated. I have another website. It is about my 1971 MGB (old English 2-seater convertible-top car). The url address is : http://www.PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com Note: When I go camping, I am often without internet service. I try to use my cellphone data plan sparingly as charges may be increased with usage. Therefore, I often let emails collect in my box and try to catch-up reading them when I return home.
Additional note: Since my posts have many pictures, it may take some time to load. Because of the pictures, it is best to view these webpages using a desktop (in my opinion. Because the size of the pictures will be larger.) >>

2018-08-23 from Atlanta, GA to Anchorage and Denali, Alaska (google maps shows 4,289 miles)

2018-08-25_AKDenali,GroupPicture_StokesCathy-SeniorsOnTheGoTours)
2018-08-25_AKDenali,GroupPicture_StokesCathy-SeniorsOnTheGoTours)

2018-08-23 AK,Denali (Page 1 of 3)
Because this trip was a ‘fur-distance’, I’m breaking up the web-reporting into 3 Pages.
Page 1 – To Denali National Park and to Seward (Alaska) – 4 days
Page 2 – Holland America Cruise (Inside Passage) – 6 days
Page 3 – Northern Lights and miscellaneous

I traveled with a group of 32 people known as “Seniors On the Go Tours”.  There is a website under that name. (Note: the tour-director, Cathy Stokes, worked with another company called A&I tours.) We met at a convenient parking space in Snellville, GA and were driven on a motorcoach bus to the Atlanta Airport. (By the way, the official name of the airport is a hyphenated-conjugation of 2 previous Atlanta politicians that is too long for a name, in my opinion – so, I just shorten it. The abbreviation is “ATL”.) We boarded the bus about 11AM and the flight to Anchorage on Delta left around 3PM and we had ‘plenty-of-time’ before the flight for both check-in and security. We were warned that food during the flight consisted of a snack and drink and to bring a wrapped food item if we wanted more. (Also, the food purchased from the airport is expensive.) The flight was a LONG one, the airplane was large and it was totally necessary to get-up and walk-around (as well as find the restroom). Time really becomes distorted when you change several time-zones — and was even more distorted by Alaska having a long daylight. At the Anchorage airport, we collected our baggage (one checked bag, one carry-on item and a handbag, or in-my-case,a backpack.) Since nearly everyone packed warm clothes, there were plenty of bags in the overhead storage and my bag was put-in the front by a stewardess since the back area where I was seated was full. In Anchorage, the bus took us to a Holland America hotel in downtown called Westmark.  Our dinner was not included and my roommate and I went across the street from the hotel to the Glacier BrewHouse. It was crowded and we were able to secure a table near the bar area and enjoy our first salmon. It was delicious. There was a light, drizzle rain and we had hopes that it would clear for our trip. We returned to the hotel for the night and were excited about being there.

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The next morning, we were up early and had a buffet breakfast at the hotel. There were many other tour groups there and we learned that they were all with the Holland America company because the company owns the hotel. Buses for our transport to the dome-glasstop train to Denali were efficient. Each person was asked to divert their checked-luggage, i.e. big-suitcase to the cruise ship and take two-nights clothes with them to Denali in the smaller carry-on bag. The train does not have luggage, so Holland America asks travelers to tag their bags for the cruise ship differently from the Denali part of the trip. Trucks of luggage are loaded and driven to the two destinations.
We had a WONDERFUL train trip to Denali. Each train car has an upper-deck for viewing and a lower-part for the restroom and lunch-table area.  A host/guide tells each guest about the local information on the top deck of the car.  Lunch was included in the trip and the lunch-host would ask several people if they would like to eat lunch now? If so, they would go downstairs to a table and order what they wanted. I estimated that the top-dome held about 50 people and that the bottom had 6 eating-booths that would seat 4 to a table. It took a while for everyone to have lunch – but it was a DELICIOUS one! It was rainy the whole trip, but by the time that we reached Denali, the rain was very light and the temperature was light-jacket comfortable.

We boarded a motorcoach bus to the Holland America property, McKinley Chalet and Lodge. (Note: In the last several months, the mountain that was known as McKinley name was changed to Denali – the same name of the national park. I wonder if Holland America will also change the name of the lodge?) The train-ride was about 8 hours long and some of my pictures will help describe how quickly the time passed.

I ate a light supper at the resort restaurant and we had a very restful first night. We also had a 5:10AM school-bus, i.e. Blue Bird, for the Tundra Wilderness Tour in Denali National Park the next morning. On the bus, the driver gave each of us a ‘snack’ and the previous night, we requested from the lodge the type of box-lunch to pick-up from the door before boarding the bus. I was surprised, we were told to eat on the bus. About 20+ years ago, I had taken the same tour and we rode to the Eilson Visitors Center where we had 45 minutes at picnic tables for lunch. However, the food and tourists attracted bears and the park-service changed the tour to about 2 miles short of the visitors center .  In the morning, when the tour started, early-morning is still twilight. We anticipated needing cool-weather jackets and the rain had stopped. The bus-driver said that the park-service has outsourced the tundra tour to a corporation. (When I saw the park a long time ago, the park-service used their employees.) The bus-driver is able to spot the wildlife in the park because they are know where the animals live and where to look. They now have a long-lens camera that they can zoom to see the wildlife and are able to show an impressive picture on small televisions on pull-down slots below the overhead storage. Hopefully, a picture that I took of the televisions will show what I’m trying to describe.
The HIGHLIGHT-OF-THE-DAY was that the full-face of Denali was available when we reached the turn-around area. It was quite impressive. The mountain was beautiful in all its majesty! No wonder it is known as “the tall one” – the tallest on the North American continent. The bus ride to-and-from the lodge was about 8 hours. When we returned, I took a long nap to try and recover some of the sleep that I lost.
My roommate and I joined others from the group with a dinner-show at the resort. We enjoyed hanging around the door before the show and meeting some of the other tourists. After the show, we walked a short-distance up a hill to the lodge.

After our second night at the lodge, the next morning, we had breakfast at the resort restaurant, loaded a motorcoach bus and had a day of travel to Seward to the cruise ship. It was another long travel day, but we had a couple of stops for using the restroom (Alaska state pit-stops) and a buffet-lunch sandwich with delicious home-made cookies in Willow. I have to include that the view of the mountains was outstanding and our-driver told us interesting stories about the towns.  
(Note: The lodge/resort closes on September 15 for the season, as well as other businesses. It begins to get cold there and the tourists want to go to somewhere that is WARM!)

<There is a “little-more” to this story that I will tell on page 3 – the Northern Lights. Stay tuned … >

<<As always, any comments that you have about the website would be appreciated. I have another website. It is about my 1971 MGB (old English 2-seater convertible-top car). The url address is : http://www.PuddinInTheMGB.wordpress.com Note: When I go camping, I am often without internet service. I try to use my cellphone data plan sparingly as charges may be increased with usage. Therefore, I often let emails collect in my box and try to catch-up reading them when I return home.
Additional note: Since my posts have many pictures, it may take some time to load. Because of the pictures, it is best to view these webpages using a desktop (in my opinion. Because the size of the pictures will be larger.) >>