It's a Great Big Beautiful World! Let's Discover it Together

Showing posts with label Canada. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Canada. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Yukon Ho!

Skagway is such a wonderfully easy port to maneuver. A very short walk from the ship puts you right at the station for the White Pass-Yukon Rail station, but it's also just a quick walk into town and is of course looking very much as it did back in the 1890s the heart of gold rush days.
My excursion package was a White Pass train combo, which actually was the reverse of many of the ones that are readily available. Instead of taking the train first, for my group, it was a bus first, followed by the return trip on the train. We drove about 72 miles north of Skagway into the Yukon (my mind kept thinking of Calvin & Hobbes and "Yukon Ho!"). Shortly after starting up the mountain we encountered a good bit of fog - actually about 20 minutes of our drive was very hard to see anything outside the bus, but thankfully after we'd crested the White Pass summit, we also left the fog behind us as the sun shone brightly.
We passed many beautiful lakes, streams, and some historic mining sites as we reached nearly 3,000 feet - but kept going. Along the way, we heard fascinating tales of how the gold rush came about, and how prospectors had some extreme conditions to face as they moved up from Skagway into the Klondike and the Yukon.
We enjoyed lunch near Carcross, Yukon, and there I got to meet Kenai and Fuzzy, along with other beautiful mushers. The dogs train in the off-season for the Iditarod at this facility in the Yukon. Since there's no snow in the summer, they use special sleds with wheels instead of runners and give rides to visitors. They LOVE to run, and of the nearly 90 dogs there, they all were seeming to bark out "pick me" as their handlers were selecting the dogs that would pull our sleigh. It was great fun, and I'm thrilled to have been able to experience it, as I doubt I'll ever experience the Iditarod for real.
After that, it was time to start trekking down the trails again, and we drove down from Carcross to Fraser, BC, where we picked up the White Pass train south to Skagway. Riding inside the car was nice, but honestly, I loved riding on the platform between cars for most of the way. It was awesome!
The scenery was spectacular as we passed through the Alpine Tundra, and then over the sub-continental divide, which separates the water flow to the Pacific down by Skagway, or way out west at the Bering Sea and down through the rainforest that is around Skagway. It was such fun, I'd love to do it again! It is absolutely a must-do recommendation for all my clients.
Best kept secrets/finds of the day? The arctic desert in the Yukon, and beautiful beach Lake Bennett. Whoo-hoo, some new sand for my "sands of the world" jar.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Greetings from the Inside Passage

Greetings from the Inside Passage. Just a few quick images before I go to the first class of this trip. We set sail yesterday from Vancouver and are working our way north. Tomorrow is Tracy Arm and Juneau. Today is cloudy (at least this morning), but the forecast is calling for great weather for most of the rest of this trip. The stars last night were fantastic, and we're supposed to have fantastic visibility of the meteor showers this week. More to come later.

Happy Sunday all!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tips on Thursday - Passport Information


Passports are required for all travelers, including citizens of the U.S. and Canada, who enter or re-enter the U.S. by air, land or sea.  

There are a few notable exceptions pertaining to land and sea border crossings: 
  • U.S. citizens on cruises that begin and end in the same U.S. port and travel to destinations in Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, the Bahamas or Bermuda are able to re-enter the U.S. with proof of citizenship other than a passport or passport card. Acceptable proof of citizenship includes a U.S. state-issued original or certified copy of their birth certificate (hospital certificates are not acceptable) or a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or a Certificate of Naturalization and a government-issued photo ID (such as a driver's license). Passports are required for cruises that begin in one U.S. port and end in another.
  • Children under the age of 16 who are citizens of the U.S. or Canada are exempt from the passport requirement for land and sea border crossings. In lieu of a passport, children are able to use a U.S. state-issued original or certified copy of their birth certificate (hospital certificates are not acceptable) or a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or a Certificate of Naturalization as proof of citizenship for entry into the U.S. by land or by sea. Children entering or re-entering the U.S. by air are required to have a valid passport.
  • A new, lower-cost alternative to the passport, called a passport card, is acceptable for entries into the U.S. by land or sea. The passport card is not acceptable for air travel.
  • The following cruise lines require a passport for all sailings, regardless of destination or port of departure: Azamara Club Cruises, Crystal, Cunard, Fred. Olsen, Hurtigruten, Oceania, Orion Expedition Cruises, P&O, Paul Gauguin, Regent, Seabourn, Silversea, Star Clippers, Swan Hellenic, Voyages of Discovery and Windstar.
  • Photocopies of required documentation are not acceptable in any circumstance.
  • Even though passports are not required at this time for U.S. citizens who sail on cruises to the above destinations that begin and end in the same U.S. port, we strongly recommend that all cruise passengers travel with a valid passport anyway. This is because guests who need to fly to or from the U.S. unexpectedly during their cruise will likely experience significant delays and complications related to booking airline tickets and entering the U.S. if they do not have a valid passport with them. For example, a passenger missing a cruise departure due to a late inbound flight to Miami would need a passport to fly to meet the ship at the next port. Similarly, guests needing to fly to or through the U.S. before their cruise ends because of medical, family, personal or business emergencies, missing a ship's departure from a port of call, or a mechanical problem of some sort with the ship, would need a passport. Of course, situations like these are rare, but they can happen.

Passports are not required for U.S. citizens traveling to or returning directly from Hawaii or a U.S. territory, including Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Swains Island, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Passports are required for cruise travel to all International destinations not mentioned above, and for cruises that involve air travel that begins or ends outside of the U.S. Passports must be valid for at least six months after the last day of travel.

For information about obtaining a passport for the first time, or about renewing a passport,  visit the U.S. Department ofState's website

Legal U.S. Residents (Non-Citizens)

Legal permanent residents of the U.S. must have a valid passport from their country of citizenship and a valid Alien Registration Card (Green Card) to enter or re-enter the U.S.

Non-U.S., Non-Canada Citizens

The following countries participate in a visa waiver program with the U.S., and citizens of these countries must have a machine-readable passport for entry into the U.S.:

Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom

Citizens of the countries listed above who do not possess machine-readable passports, and citizens of countries not listed above must present a valid passport and a valid United States visa upon entry into the U.S. For those whose travel plans include multiple entries into the U.S., such as a cruise that begins and ends in a U.S. port, a multiple-entry visa is required.


All travelers, including U.S. and Canada citizens, are responsible for verifying visa requirements with consular officials, and obtaining visas where required, for every country visited during their trip, including countries visited via connecting flights.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Where in the World Wednesdays - Destinations to Explore Before Leaving This Life

Boundary Waters – Ely, Minnesota

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCA) is made up of more than 1,000 lakes scattered throughout the piney wilderness of the Superior National Forest along the Minnesota-Ontario border.  This stretch of wilderness is composed of 1 million protected acres of land, with lakes ranging in size from 10 acres to 10,000 acres.  It’s the largest wilderness preserve in the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains.  Cross the border into Canada and you’ll find another 1.2 million acres in Ontario’s Quetico Provincial Park

The BCWA is free of cars, and nearly free of motorboats too.  It boasts more than 1,500 acres of mapped canoe routes and was first used by Ojibwa, French, Dutch and British fur traders during the 17th century.  The typical user comes in and spends days or weeks, paddling and portaging canoes as they camp along the forested shores and fish for their dinner.  Paddlers and anglers help to make Boundary Waters the most heavily used wilderness area in the United States. 

Throughout the BWCA you’re likely to encounter loons, moose, and occasionally a wolf or two – specifically eastern timber wolves, who roam the woods after nearly facing extinction in the 1930’s, and from time to time, other humans.  The permit system enforced throughout the BWCA keeps the crowds quite manageable.

Nearby Ely is home to a number of outfitters who provide everything that excursions might need – from basic gear rental to outfitting entire week-long excursions into the wilderness.  There are also quaint log cabins and lodges nearby to retreat to after a number of days into the backcountry. 

The BWCA isn’t just a three-season wilderness either.  Wintertime is when the BWCA can be at its’ most magical as the entire area becomes a snow-blanketed glittering wonderland.  The Wintergreen Lodge, operated by noted polar explorer Paul Schurke, offers lodge-to-lodge or camping dogsled trips across frozen landscapes as Ely is the Sled Dog Capital of the U.S. every winter. 

Ely is located about 100 miles north of Duluth, with an average population of 4,000.  For more information about a visit to Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness, Ely or other parts of Minnesota, call 317.776.1733 or submit a quote request via my website.