The Anti-Cruise to Alaska – Day 1

Alaska day 1 6/26/15

I wanted to do something different this summer…. so I am. I’m going to Alaska! First time and I am beyond excited. I volunteered for a week’s worth of trail maintenance in Denali National Park. That isn’t until July 12th. I’m taking the Alaska State Ferry to explore southeast Alaska on my way up. I have plans pretty well figured out until the trail work. After that I will just wing it. I have no idea how or when I will come back home!

I left my sister’s house on Bainbridge island this morning, took the ferry to Seattle and the train to Bellingham. I had breakfast with my PCT friend Serpent Slayer and lunch with my nephew and his girlfriend. 


More and Serpent Slayer


London and Caitlyn


That's the ferry

A very coincidental thing happened while walking on the boardwalk before getting on the ferry. This guy came over to me and asked if I was nancyhikes. I had met him last year on the PCT near Harts Pass. His son had told me he had 3 trails he wanted to hike. His house in Bellingham to Ross Lake, the John Muir Trail and the Wonderland Trail. He is seven years old. How cool is that?

Once I boarded the ferry I headed up the stairs to the top. I grabbed a lounge chair and staked out my territory in the solarium.


Within 5 minutes of getting on the boat I knew I had hit the jackpot in choosing to take the ferry to Alaska. My kind of people ride this ferry! Here are some examples:

Ken and Robin from Haines. Ken hiked the Oregon pct in 1974, has lived in Haines for 30 years and was a wealth of information about native people, hiking all over Alaska and so much more. They live off the grid in a place that sounds way cool. Plus, he has a book soon to be published about the Tlingit people and John Muir.

Kaela from Jackson, Wyoming. First visited Alaska via the ferry in 2013, came again last summer and shared her experiences of camping and traveling all over Alaska.

Kurt from Bellingham is taking the ferry to Skagway and then riding his bicycle 1900 miles back home. He also hiked the first 500 miles of the PCT in 1991. Kindred spirits!

Berths are available if you reserve in time and want one. Otherwise, you can pitch a tent on the back deck, sleep in the solarium, or find any other unclaimed spot anywhere inside. The ferry takes cars and RVs. The boat is full of Alaskans returning home and people setting out for all kinds of adventures. There is a dining room, snack bar, theater, lounge chair room, showers, outside decks and everything else one might want.


My favorite sign


I hope I don't need these



Mt Baker



16 thoughts on “The Anti-Cruise to Alaska – Day 1

  1. TERRA

    I already know I’m going to love reading all about your newest adventure. I just keep wondering when your book will be coming out????

  2. DReams

    Serpent Slayer! Nice! My hero and inspiration for becoming a professor! Have an awesome time in America’s last true wilderness! Enjoy the wildlife!

  3. Susan "Backpack45" Alcorn

    I have been on the Alaska State Ferry, slept on the deck and one of the most fun ways to travel imaginable. And it goes without saying that you will love Denali–lucky you! I worked there, in the gift shop, 29 years ago–what a blast to be in the park for a while.

  4. Denise Spruce

    My kind of ferry! I had no idea you could sleep anywhere, even pitch a tent on a ferry! How cool is that?

  5. Mike Nelson

    Another new vista to explore…my favorite life experience and obviously something that keeps your eyes bright as you discover the world. Enjoy!


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