A Journey To Alaska – An Adventure Booked by Travel Designs by Judy

Alaska Excursion Testimonials

“We are not even finished with our 2 week Alaskan trip but I couldn’t wait to give Judy Julian of Go4Lesstravelnow a HuGE shoutout! We totally trusted Judy to make it the best. Most memorable family vacation for 18 of us…. and she exceeded all expectations. From accommodations to meal planning and excursions…. top notch! Can’t recommend Judy highly enough. We have Judy to thank for an amazing and unforgettable Alaskan experience. Know we’ll be returning.”

- Patti Pecht

The excursion for whale watching in Juneau was Superb! Small boat, small number of people. Super fast speed…. saw tons of whales, sea lions, and orcas!!!! Best excursion!!!! Not a princess one.

- Bryan Pecht

Thanks, Judy, for all that you’ve done for us! It’s truly an Amazing vacation!

- Betty Burris

Day One

Welcome to the first day of our journey to Alaska. Today we arrived in the Emerald City, Seattle,WA. Even though we were jet lagged we could not wait to hit the streets of this magnificent city. Pike Street Market was our first destination. Artisans, beautiful flowers, and incredible fresh vegetables and seafood are all a part of the market experience. The market has been at the waterfront in Seattle since the early 1900’s.

For the rest of the glorious afternoon we walked along the waterfront and enjoyed the crisp weather, the people and the scenery.

Before heading back to the hotel we stopped at the Crab Pot where we feasted on three different kinds of fresh crabs.

Tomorrow we set sail for Alaska!

Day Two

Today we boarded our vessel for Alaska. The first thing we saw off our stateroom balcony was a BIG seal bobbing up and down in the water. How cool is that . Next we might see a Whale! As we stood on the Lido deck of our lovely ship we gazed back at Seattle skyline one last time before we set sail. The ship started gliding along silky smooth waters of Elliot Bay as we marveled at the Cascade Mountains. The weather is so gorgeous and perfect we are sitting on our balcony with only light jackets. I have a feeling as we venture north we will be bundling up a bit more.

Day Three

A fabulous day at Sea started off with a scrumptious breakfast with some world travelers. Very interesting conversations with people who had traveled to Alaska several times before. Would highly recommend attending the on board session that describes the available shore excursions. To be continued…

The whole day on the ship was really fun and the food was great but I am ready for us to get to Alaska. Come back tomorrow to hear about our adventures in our first port Juneau.

Day Four

We docked in the capital of Alaska Juneau around noon. Dave and I boarded our floatplane to the Taku Glacier. These are some of the longest ice fields in Alaska. You cannot imagine the magnificence as we flew over these beautiful glaciers interspersed with valleys of pure blue water.

Then we landed on the water next to the Taku Lodge built in 1923 by a doctor and hunter from Juneau. At the lodge we feasted on fresh King Salmon grilled over alder wood. Yum! Just thinking about the salmon brings back its wonderful flavor. Following our meal we hiked around the property looking for their famous bear Scarface who is known to scrounge for leftovers from the tourists’ meals.

Unfortunately we had to board our plane back to Juneau before we saw the bear. When we arrived in Juneau again, we took the Tramway to the top of Mt. Roberts, about 2000 ft above the city. We hiked around the mountain taking pictures of the wonderful scenery. We visited an injured Eagle named Miss Baltimore who lives there, but still no BEARS! Until tomorrow signing off…

Day Five

Have you ever had a surreal day?

Today our ship made its journey to Hubbard Glacier. I felt as though we were drifting towards the surreal.

Alaska is so large that even if you cut it in half, each half would still be bigger than Texas! Forty percent of Alaska is dedicated to parks and wilderness preserves. Hubbard Glacier is located in the largest coastal preserve in the world. It is 24 million acres and its ecosystem is still intact. We were able to view the second highest US mountain, Mt. St. Elias (18,009 ft and the fastest growing mountain in the world). Its original name in Tlingit means “mountain rising from the sea”.

The glacier is 1400 ft thick and 300 ft of it are below the sea. Wow! Hard to imagine that I was only 10 miles out from this unbelievable creation.

On one of the observation decks I heard an English lady shout out that she had seen a polar bear and a huge flower. I was so excited until I realized that she was looking at the shapes of small “icebergs” floating past our ship.

Seeing this unspoiled wilderness made me realize how important it is to preserve our natural resources.

Day Six

Wildlife day in Alaska!

Bright and early this morning we landed in Sitka (Alaska’s little Russia). It was colonized by Russia in the 1700 and 1800’s. The most notable landmark in Sitka is St. Michael’s, the lovely Russian Orthodox cathedral. It was built in 1844 and is filled with antique relics, gold jewels and vestments. It has one of the world’s most priceless collections of Russian icons. Before Juneau, Sitka was the 1st capital of Alaska.

After docking, Dave and I boarded a sightseeing boat in our quest to find Alaskan wildlife. To our amazement, we saw hundreds of sea otters lounging on their backs in Kelp. Sea otters choose a “favorite” rock that they keep with them to crack open clams and crabs for dinner. We saw numerous Harbor seals and Bald eagles everywhere. But the highlight of our adventure today was sighting three Humpback whales…amazing! We spent a half hour with a mother and her calf, sometimes only 50′ to 75′ from our boat! After this outstanding quest, we visited the Alaska Raptor Center. This is a unique preserve dedicated to the rehabilitation of injured Bald eagles, hawks, falcons and owls and other raptors.


Day Seven

Welcome to Ketchikan “The Salmon Capital of the World”. The origin of the name Ketchikan is derived from the Tlingit language and means ”thundering wings of the eagle”. Today in fact I saw an eagle’s nest up close. Did you know that eagles build two to three nests in their 35 year lifetime? These nests can weigh up to two tons and they alternate usage of the nests so the weather can naturally clean and “sanitize” them during off years.

Today I found myself on a Behring Sea Crab Boat “Aleutian Ballad” from the show “The Deadliest Catch”. It was crewed by an actual captain and others from the TV show. They described how they catch crabs, shrimp, halibut and rock fish. Then they lowered some traps and caught King Crabs (I actually held one!), rockfish and two huge octopi.

Heading back to port we spotted six killer whales that straddled our boat. Only in Alaska!

Dave took a different trip: “An Alaskan Fish Camp”. Dave, John and Captain Dale (a lifelong Ketchikan resident) went fishing for halibut, rockfish and ling cod. Thanks to Dale’s expertise, they caught legal halibut and rockfish that they took to the company’s outdoor island camp. Within twenty minutes of arrival, the catch was cleaned by Dale and transformed into a fabulous lunch by chef Marsha. By the way…Food and Wine magazine rates this meal as “the best outdoor meal in America” Dave (who catches and cooks his own saltwater fish) said he totally agrees. Too bad he can’t catch halibut in North Carolina!

This is the end of our time in the great state of Alaska (for now). We WILL be going back to see more of “The Last Wilderness”.

Day Eight & Nine

The last day of our cruise we decided to relax…. but only for short time. There was still to much to do. During the day on the ship we had an opportunity to eat at one of the ship’s premiere restaurants for lunch. After that scrumptious meal we did a Walk for the Cure around the deck 9 times. We docked that night in Victoria BC. We hopped on a bus tour through downtown on our way to the Butterfly Garden and the famous Butchart Gardens. These gardens are truly spectacular. The Butchart Gardens were set up in the early 1900’s by Mrs. Butchart who wanted to attract her friends from downtown Victoria to visit her in the country. Not only did she attract people from Victoria but from around the world. Definitely worth a trip for you travelers to BC.

Our ship docked in Seattle the next morning. Since our flight home was not until 11:45 that night we took full advantage of seeing more of Seattle. Since Dave is a Flight enthusiast we headed for the Flight Museum. What fun!! I actually got to go aboard Air Force One( from the 50’ s and 60’s) Also we went aboard the now defunct Concorde. We saw space shuttles, rovers and many different types of airplanes even a flying car.

Following our visit to Flight Museum we went back downtown to the Underground Tour of Seattle. The tour took us through underground Seattle which created the Great Fire in the early 1900’s. It is in Pioneer Square and a must for you History buffs.

Signing off in hopes that this has inspired you to go see America’s last true great wilderness, and of course we will be back to see those bears that eluded us!