» in general
visiting alaska is one of those things you put on your list of stuff to do before you die, but like eating healthy and exercising regularly, people probably talk about doing it more often than they actually do it. so when the opportunity to go on an alaskan cruise presented itself, deciding to go was a no-brainer. everyone knows alaska is a beautiful place, but you may not realize how incredibly huge, rugged, and desolate it is. the saying "the more i learn, the less i know" can be applied here because the more you see of alaska, the more you realize you haven't seen. seeing alaska by cruise ship is a comfortable and relaxing mode of travel but can also end up feeling superficial. you get dropped off in little tourist trap towns with usually just a few hours to do something and given the ruggedness and desolation, it's not that easy to get around once you're off the ship unless you have booked an excursion with some onshore tour place. if you want to get the most out of your time onshore, you are probably best off signing up for excursions ahead of time, but even so, when you're trying to visit a big place in a short amount of time, you're just not going to be able to see it all. we mostly flew by the seat of our pants and the hikes and bike rides we went on were generally whatever was easily accessible from town and ended up not being that much unlike what you could do anywhere in the pacific northwest. however, cruising into the tracy arm fjord amongst icebergs and jagged mountains or leaving skagway and seeing beautiful mountain ranges in every direction, more than make up for any medocrity in other aspects of the cruise (much of the "medocrity" can be attributed to the fact that alaska is just far away and it takes a long time to get there by boat). if the pacific ocean were really just a bathtub occupied by some giant little kid and to him our cruise ship was just some little toy ship and he could have picked us up and plopped us down near skagway, that would have been cool. i mean, can you imagine a bathtub that big?

leaving seattle.


at sea.

» ketchikan
it rains a lot in ketchikan and it rained while we were there. we went on a 20 mile bike ride along the coast and got soaked to the bone, fortunately it was not cold.

misty mountains.

at port.

the bay, the town, the docks, and creek street.

despite the rain, we rented some bikes in town and rode along the shore. along the way we came across a creek with a bunch of salmon flopping up it.

the first waterfall we came across.

the second, much larger, waterfall we found.

there was a steep trail along the falls through the lush enveloping forest that led up to another waterfall.

» tracy arm
tracy arm is a narrow fjord where granite peaks rise sharply from the water, covered in greenery and cascading waterfalls fed from the melting snow above. glaciers calve icebergs which drift about aimlessly and provide a resting spot for seals. it was at this point of the cruise that alaska showed it was unlike any place i had ever been.

drifting blue ice.

the steep granite walls of tracy arm.

meandering waterfall.

blue iceberg.

it was very windy on the deck.

sawyer glacier. the picture on the left is the best one i got because we didn't get that close and it was early morning. on the right is a picture of sawyer glacier from the internet.

chilling on the parents balcony, a waterfall, icebergs, and our sister ship.

since the picture taking conditions were not good (early morning, harsh light) when we were there, here are some pictures of tracy arm that i found on the internet.

and here are some better pictures of the sawyer glacier.

leaving tracy arm.

» juneau
juneau, the capital of alaska, is a fair sized city that is pretty well cut off from the rest of the world by mountains. try to take the freeway out of town and you will just end up at a dead end. nearby juneau is a large and easily accessible glacier (mendenhall).

from tracy arm to juneau.

juneau sits at the base of a large mountain.

mendenhall glacier, where icebergs are born.

green peak near the glacier.

here we are, standing in front of the glacier.

on the trail near mendenhall glacier, probably the greenest place i have ever been.

on the trail and the very large mendenhall falls.

glacier from above.

» skagway
there's gold in them thar hills.

a dried up river bed, falls, and a pool.

salmon swimming up stream.

pulling out from skagway.

jagged peaks.

there were many interesting mountains all around.


mountains still surround us as the sun sets.

» white pass


3 giants.

snowy peaks.


a large chunk of rock.

» victoria


» other photo reports
Maui, Hawaii
October 14 - 22, 2008
Enjoying the amazing island of Maui, with all of it's crazy roads.
My favorite photos from Michigan.
Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan
May 16 - 17, 2009
Enjoying springtime in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
Kauai, Hawaii
October 6 - 14, 2008
Enjoying the amazing island of Kauai, from Waimea Canyon, to Poipu, to the Kalalau Trail.
North Manitou Island, Michigan
August 11 - 12, 2007
Backpacking on North Manitou Island, enjoying the sunset, and watching storms roll off from Lake Michigan.
Zion Narrows, Utah
October 18, 2006
Taking a quick venture into "The Narrows" and Orderville Canyon in Zion National Park.
Pictured Rocks in Fall, Michigan
October 7, 2006
Hiking the Chapel Loop & checking out other sights like Spray Falls, Miners Castle, Miners Beach, Munising Falls, Grand Sable Dunes, etc.
Mount Agassiz, California
September 2, 2006
Hiking to the summit of Mount Agassiz in the Bishop Creek area, starting from the South Lake trailhead.
Southwest Utah
June 3 - 8, 2005
Hiking in Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Snow Canyon State Park, Valley of Fire State Park, and some other places.
Fall in Ann Arbor, Michigan
October - November, 2008
A few attempts at capturing the beautiful fall colors.
Denver, Colorado
July 1 - 5, 2008
Staying in Denver and checking out the Indian Peaks, Mt. Evans, and Rocky Mountain NP.
Manhattan, New York
March 13 - 16, 2008
Wandering the streets of Manhattan.
Bruce Peninsula, Ontario
February 8 - 11, 2008
Photos from Bruce Peninsula National Park and Tobermory.
La Jolla, California
December 23 - 30, 2007
Hiking around Torrey Pines, enjoying the views from Mount Soledad, and walking along La Jolla Cove.
Crested Butte, Colorado
September 13 - 18, 2007
Hiking up Marcellina Mountain, to Frigid Air Pass, and a few other places, mostly in the Crested Butte area.
Pictured Rocks, Michigan
March 17, 2007
Hiking along the ice shelf from Twelvemile Beach to Spray Falls.
Arches National Park, Utah
October 19, 2006
Checking out Arches National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park.
Big Sur, California
July 22, 2006
Driving up the California coast from San Diego to Monterey, checking out Morro Bay, San Simeon, McWay Falls, Big Sur, and Point Lobos.
South Manitou Island, Michigan
July 2, 2006
Hiking to the sand dune bluffs on the west side of South Manitou Island.
Santa Catalina Island, California
May 6, 2006
Hiking to Lone Tree Point on Santa Catalina Island, one of the Channel Islands off the coast of Los Angeles.
Pictured Rocks, Michigan
March 2 - 4, 2006
Ice climbing and skiing in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
Southern California
November 10 - 14, 2005
Hiking in the Anza-Borrego Desert, exploring Anacapa Island in Channel Islands National Park, and climbing Iron Mountain.
Michigan Law Quad
My favorite photos of the University of Michigan Law Quad.
Yosemite, California
July 23, 2006
Checking out Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, Tuolumne Meadows, and driving over Tioga Pass.
The Thumb, Michigan
September 6, 2009
Kayaking along the rocky shores of Lake Huron near Port Austin.
The Thumb, Michigan
January 31, 2009
Hiking along Lake Huron to see the rock formations and lighthouse near Port Austin.
Frozen Coast, Michigan
February 16, 2008
Exploring the frozen shores of Lake Michigan, from Warren Dunes to South Haven.
Tobermory, Ontario
May 25 - 27, 2007
Hiking around Tobermory, home to two Canadian national parks: Bruce Peninsula National Park, and Fathom Five National Marine Park.
Glen Canyon, Arizona
October 17, 2006
Taking a quick look at Horseshoe Bend in Glen Canyon.
Thousand Island Lake, California
September 3, 2006
Hiking to Thousand Island and Garnet Lakes in the Ansel Adams Wilderness, starting from Agnew Meadows.
Colorado Fall
September 23 - 28, 2005
Hiking in Crested Butte, Aspen, and Rocky Mountain National Park.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
My favorite photos from Ann Arbor.
Nordhouse Dunes, Michigan
July 26 - 27, 2008
A quick overnight backpacking trip into the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area.
San Diego, California
March 27 - April 1, 2008
Wandering the beaches of La Jolla, checking out the Anza-Borrego Desert, and doing a quick hike near Iron Mountain.
Pictured Rocks, Michigan
March 7 - 9, 2008
Skiing & snowshoeing in the Miners Castle & Grand Sable Dunes areas. We also checked out the ice in Grand Marais & Mackinac Straits.
Winter, Ann Arbor, Michigan
January, 2008
Winter photos from campus, town, and city parks.
Northern Michigan
October 19 - 21, 2007
Enjoying the fall colors in northern Michigan.
Pictured Rocks, Michigan
August 30 - September 2, 2007
Back to the Great Lakes with a rare summer visit to Pictured Rocks to see what it all looks like when it's green.
Chicago, Illinois
October 23, 2006
Checking out the city from the Sears Tower, and strolling through Millenium Park.
Eastern Sierras, California
July 24, 2006
Hiking to Treasure Lakes in the Little Lakes Valley near Bishop/Mammoth Lakes, and driving south along the Eastern Sierra range.
Northern Michigan
July 1 - 4, 2006
Checking out Grand Haven, Silver Lake, Sleeping Bear Dunes, and Traverse City.
San Diego, California
May 4 - 8, 2006
Hiking around the San Diego area: Torrey Pines, La Jolla Cove, San Diego Gliderport, and some inland canyons.
Yosemite, California
March 18 - 20, 2006
Camping in Yosemite, Skiing to Glacier Point, and exploring the valley.
Upper Peninsula, Michigan
December 26 - 28, 2005
Winter pictures from Tahquamenon Falls State Park and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
Michigan Fall
October, 2005
Pictures from around the Ann Arbor area.