2016 Mexican Riviera Group Photo
2011 Mexican Riviera Group Photo
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Our Diary with Photos for our 2017 Alaska Cruise!
A 7 day cruise with a 4 day land tour in Denali National Park!

Below is some information on where the 2017 Spirit of the West Cruise is going. We hope you enjoy the diary as we head to Alaska. See the map below (or scroll down). We will sail on Holland America's ms Noordam - below is a photo showing what she looks like.

See the map below (or scroll down).
Go to the Itinerary below (or scroll down).

2017 Group T-Shirt
2016 Mexican Riviera T-Shirt
click to enlarge

We will sail on Holand America's ms Noordam   We will sail on Holand America's ms Noordam

Holland America's ms Noordam!

Diary for June 17th to 28th, 2017

The following photos will all enlarge if you click on them.

June 17th & 18th

The day before was sushi night in Vancouver... yes Billie & Hugh too!

Hugh checking out his order of beef short ribs ... hmmm ...

Jim passed on an old music book from a past S of the W cruiser

We're off, and the turn out at the welcoming reception was great!!

June 18th

The center section of the Queen's Lounge (with the King's Lounge sign)

The left right hand side ... probably around 190 of us at the reception

At dinner the first night Hugh Fleming celebrated a birthday

L to R, Flossie and Lorne Bodell and David & Pat Durie

June 18th,19th & 20th

Karen, Steph, & Rich working while Jim socializes with Brian Roberts

All in all a great start to the 16th Annual Spirit of the West cruise

In Ketchikan ... with three other cruise ships - ours is the black hull

We had the day to walk around and explore Ketchikan

June 20th

In Ketchikan on Creek Street ... looking right

In Ketchikan on Creek Street ... looking left

The river rolling down and under the bridge alongside Creek St

Further up the river, close to the fish ladder built for the salmon

June 20th

Back at the dock in Ketchikan as we get ready to reboard

Colleen Hovey (in black) on the gangway as Richard & Charlotte Preston approach

Colleen with Calvin and Judy Bishell looking up at Lorne Reay on the ship deck

Irene & John Romaniuk on the dance floor at the first sing-a-long

June 20th & 21st

Ellen & Dave Brown dancing to the Spirit of the West Cruise Band

The Cruise Band this year is Wayne Terpsma, Hugh, and David Woodruff

Hugh telling everyone where the 2018 Spirit of the West cruise will go

Juneau, Alaska as we dock and prepare for the group tour

The 2018 Spirit of the West Cruise will be starting in Quebec City!! and will then take in the fall colours through the Maritime Provinces and down the US Coast line to New York City! WOW ... and with Royal Caribbean!! See the Cruise Page for details.

June 21st

In Juneau our private tour went to the Mendenhall Glacier

A spectacular view of an amazing piece of nature

Films and talks informed everyone on how these glaciers are formed

One of three Spirit of the West buses returning to Juneau

June 21st

Back in Juneau we popped in to the Red Dog saloon

can you believe it - there we found others from S of the W group

and then more ... they were at table after table

all were celebrating after a great group tour!!

June 21st & 22nd

Even the cruise directors took time out to celebrate a great day

and as we were leaving we found even more ... !!

Bright and early most of our group boarded the White Pass Rail

We had 5 cars for our group, this is the first and next photos are the other 4

June 22nd

June 22nd

Our ship and a Princess ship behind us as we pull away from the dock

One of the many sights along the way was this local graveyard

We rounded corners, crossed rivers and climbed almost 3,000 feet

Standing on the platform I could touch the rock we were so close

June 22nd

Carrie Mashon taking photos and the conductor getting some fresh air

Wooden trestle and wood timber shoring for the tunnel entrance

They made us think we were going to cross this old trestle ...

but I think we were thankful that we rerouted to this newer one

June 22nd

Photos don't do justice to the spectacular views that we had

The engine dropped the cars and went to the other end to pull us back

At the end of the train ride we were in Canada (the flags are the border)

20.4 miles out of Skagway we were at the summit and 2,888 feet

June 22nd

Lots of water was running off the rocks and crevices and down rivers

Alot of blasting happened to make this route passable

Almost back in Skagway we passed the local cemetery again

Hard to imagine these old steam engines pulling those hills

June 22nd

Downtown Skagwag ... a neat little town with lots of shops

This Princess ship gives perspective - the town, ocean and mountains

Can you believe it ... some of the group found another bar / brothel!

Everyone having fun in the Red Onion Saloon in Skagway

June 22nd

No shortage of entertainment by the girls in the Red Onion ...

and the guys were definitely taking it all in !!

In fact it was probably the highlight of Skagway :-)

Then Rachel & David Woodruff celebrated their anniversary

June 22nd & 23rd

Jim and Karen took the 5 year S of the W cruisers to a special dinner

Heading up towards Glacier Bay there was a fair bit of wildlife

The weather broke for us leaving a truly amazing blue sky

The sea was blue / green and clean and the mountains were spectacular

June 23rd

As well as the colour we couldn't believe how calm the waters were

There were the mountain goats, seals, and a couple of whale sightings too.

As we got into Glacier Bay we started meeting icebergs

The mountain peaks and the huge snow pack was awesome to see

June 23rd

Colors and layers of compact ice!! Amazing!!

Again, look at the size of the boat compared to the glacier.

Spotted this guy - as nimble as a mountain goat on the rocks

The land looks like rock, but its actually a dirt covered glacier

June 23rd

Look at the boats in front and you can see how huge these glaciers are

You can also see the blue colour in places that's the pure clean ice

Then the group gathered for the Annual Spirit of the West Group photo

We're not sure if all 197 made it or not but definitely most are here

June 23rd

Lorne Reay and his daughter Colleen Hovey in their group tee shirts

Photos started with Billie and Hugh posing with Gordon and Irene Trost

Then Charlette and Richard Preston posed for their photo

This is Calvin and Judy Bishell taking their turn

June 23rd

Then it was Vicki and Gary Hetrick's turn with Billie and Hugh

David & Rachel Woodruff with daughter Julianne & James Sanders

Jim and Fontella Reinbold taking their turn with Billie & Hugh

Lorne & Flossie Bodell wrapped things up for the photo session

June 23rd

At the Sing-a-long Richard Preston read a couple of his poems

New this year, Erma Kastner played a couple of songs with her autoharp

Billie joined the guys for a song, too, which is always nice to hear

Jim read a poem written by Ed Peak (who didn't make it this year)

June 25th

Off the ship and on the bus to Denali National Park

Spectacular views to the left, right and center

On the bus Mark yelled out "Moose, left side 9:00 o'clock!"

A few of our group enjoying lunch with a view at Wasilla

June 25th & 26th

We were all treated to a pretty good selection at the feed trough

Really cool accommodation at the wilderness setting of McKinley Lodge

The gateway to Denali National Park

Part of our group were extremely lucky, as our driver said "because of clouds only 28% get to see the top of Mt Denali

June 26th

(used to be Mt McKinley) and only 4% get to see the whole Mt" - & we were welcomed us to the 4% club!

A crew built & stayed here when building the original road into the park

Bear proofing on the back side of the window shutters

On the side of the road we saw the National Bird of Alaska, the Ptarmigan

June 26th

and with mom and dad were a whole bunch of baby Ptarmigans running around

Forget-me-nots ... the National Flower of Alaska grow wild

The tail end of the lineup at one of two pit toilets after two buses unloaded

Mary & John Dafoe pose for a photo with the Native Alaskan interpreter

June 26th

"Wildlife - 9:00 o'clock" on the walking trail was only about 8 inches long

Volunteers walk the park sled dogs down the road every day

Hurricane Gultch from the bus as part of the group headed to Talkeetna Lodge

In the lobby of Talkeetna Lodge was a massive fireplace and chimney

June 27th

Fontella and Jim Reinbold pose as Kathy takes a photo for them

Talkeetna Lodge was a very nice clean lodge not far from town

that seemed to stretch a long way from left to right !

A few of the goup went on a dog sled tour - 65 dogs all yelling "pick me"!

June 27th

Kathleen, the owner, with the help of two hired hands, hooked our dogs

Jim, Fontella and Henry (with another couple) in the "summer sled" ready to roll

The dogs pull so hard they have to keep their front feet off the ground

The last dog is here and now they all get harnessed & tugs hooked

June 27th

As the last dog is hitched Kathleen hurries to the driver's seat

The lead dogs are released and they are off and running!! Amazing!!

A very quick 5 miles later we swap passengers for the return trip

The last turn on the road where they stopped at a creek for water

June 27th

Back at home they are unharnessed and fed a pretty nice looking salmon steak

At that point the passengers are allowed to go and socialize with the very

friendly dogs ... which Steph just hated to do :-)

so did Fontella ... but Jim thought he might stick to horse teams

June 27th

Kathleen shows us the "mail" that they have to deliver at the end of the Iditarod

They have run this 1000 mile race 15 times & one of their dogs has done it 7 times

Kathy & Fontella holding a couple of the four puppies from this year's litter

For Henry, I think this was the highlight of his whole trip!

June 27th

The view from the back of the Talkeetna Lodge was great (even when cloudy)

A photo from the train station platform of the McKinley Explorer

The last of the Spirit of the West group getting on the McKinley Explorer

The dome cars were roomy, comfy, and we had an awesome view

June 27th & 28th

Our tour guide even sang and played the banjo - very entertaining

And speaking of entertaining - The Sons of the Pioneers were amazing!!

Hugh being interviewed by Dennis, the Sons' sound man & media guy

Promoters Aurele & Margaret, Elizabeth Drake McDonald (Bob Nolan researcher) with Hugh and Mark

See the Spirit of the West Cruise Face Book page.

For more photos (come June 18th) see the Spirit of the West Support Crew web site diary page at: www.MeadowSprings.com.

Our Itinerary!         Top of Page





Day 1

June 18th

Vancouver, BC

Early afternoon board the ms Noordam in Vancouver.
4:30 - Sail away and Spirit of the West Welcome Reception.
We sail under the Lions Gate Bridge and head North to Alaska!

Day 2

June 19th

Cruising Inside Passage

The Inside Passage - one of the most scenic sea-lanes in the world - unbelievable scenery!
11:00 am till noon - S of the W hospitality desk will be open for questions and information.
8:30 pm to 9:30 pm - Spirit of the West Concert and Sing-a-long under the stars.

Day 3

June 20th

Ketchikan, Alaska

This unique Alaskan port is famous for its rich native culture and scenery.
8:30 pm to 9:30 pm - Spirit of the West Concert and Sing-a-long under the stars.

Day 4

June 21st

Juneau, Alaska

A day exploring Alaska's capital with our included shore excursion and extra time to shop.
Arrive 10:00 am and we head out on our private group Mendenhall Tour
10:50 am for group one and 11:50 am for group two.

Day 5

June 22nd

Skagway, Alaska

Back to the days of the great gold rush - optional shore excursion and extra time to shop.
Arrive 7:00 am. 8:10 am the Spirit of the West group departs on the White Pass railway.

Day 6

June 23rd

Cruising Glacier Bay Park

Cruising the ice-studded fjords for a full eight hours as a Park Service Ranger narrates.
8:30 pm to 9:30 pm - Spirit of the West Concert and Sing-a-long under the stars.

Day 7

June 24th

at sea

A leisurely day of cruising
3:30 to 4:30 Bon Voyage Group Cocktail Party!

Day 8

June 25th

Seward (Anchorage) to Denali

6:00 am disembark and take the narrated motor coach tour to Denali National Park.
4:00 pm approximately arrive at the Denali National Park McKinley Chalet Resort.
An evening of entertainment (with a possible sing-a-long).

Day 9

June 26th

Denali National Park

Denali Tundra Wilderness Tour. 6:00 am or 9:00 am - a 4 to 5 hour sightseeing excursion in Denali National Park. Our group splits in two at this point with half staying at the McKinley Lodge and half transferring to the Talkeetna Lake Lodge. This is because of our large numbers (close to 200 of us).

Day 10

June 27th

Denali to Anchorage

9:45 am one half leaves the McKinley Lodge and boards the luxurious domed rail cars of the McKinley Explorer. The second half of the group will join the train at 2:30 pm ... bound for Anchorage and the Westmark Anchorage Hotel.

Day 11

June 28th

Anchorage, Alaska

7:40 am ... our Alaska Journey concludes this morning in Anchorage with flights home.
7:00 pm (with a lot of luck) we'll be at the Sons of the Pioneers concert in Kamloops!

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Here is a map - showing the Alaska Cruise stops - click to enlarge.

For information on the cruise, and contact info on how to join us, see this flyer

2017 Group T-Shirt
2016 Mexican Riviera T-Shirt
click to enlarge

2017 Alaska Cruise
The 2017 map of the Spirit of the West Alaska Crusie
click to enlarge

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