Good Morning, and Happy Fourth of July!
Today my daughter and I are heading out to port early, as she has selected a shore excursion for just the two of us. The rest of the family will head into town later for the Fourth of July Parade and then they are all taking an excursion together in the afternoon.
My daughter and I dress quickly and quietly and head out to the buffet. Today there are strange mascots about- we pose with a couple of them, but it will cost $19.99 for that photo, later. We search for Fruit Loops, alas, we search in vain. It is a Frosted Flakes kind of day. I am delighted to have this special time with just me and my daughter. She is such a joy, in all of her eight year old wisdom and playfulness. We are running slightly late, so we opt for the golf cart ride from our end of the pier, past the other two ships, and to the port. She says, I hope no one in our family gets jealous of us riding this golf cart today!
Fortunately, the excursion meeting points are literally just off the pier. Someone asks us if we are here for zip-lining. Not today! I zip-lined last year on Guam. My daughter is so excited as they give us our wrist bands, tokens for gold panning, and drive us through town. We learn that a gallon of milk costs about $7.00 in Skagway. Wow.
We are on the Gold-Panning, Dog Musher, 40-Below excursion, which is a visit to Klondike Gold Fields park.
Our first activity is the Dog Mushing. We watch a video and visit with an actual Dog Musher who participated in the Iditarod Dog Sled Race. This is a neat opportunity to learn about what they do. My uncle participated in the Iditarod race in 1987, finishing 34th. What an accomplishment! From here we meat another established musher, and he shows us to a training run round the loop, and we get to meet and hold the puppies! Ohmigosh they are so cute! And this dog musher is not bad, either, amIright?
From here we visit a 40-Below Chamber. We don borrowed parkas and basically step into a freezer. There is also a simulation of the Northern Lights. It sure is cold. Brr!
Finally, we get our turn with the “pay dirt.” My daughter has been so looking forward to this part. She even cleared a wide space on her special shelf in her bedroom before we left, saying, “This is for my gold.” We each get a little, but she is delighted. After we put our specks into the little film canisters, it’s time to visit the assayer. I tell my daughter that my grandfather, her great-grandfather, was the Chief Assayer at the San Francisco Mint. It’s pretty cool to have a family connection to these professions we are meeting today. She beams over her $7.77 worth of gold, and I purchase the special display case for her. I must say, $7.77 is pretty lucky!
As we bus back into town, the rest of the family is also returning to the boat from the parade. We get to dine together and share our stories, before heading out to town again.
They will visit a proper Dog Musher training facility, and we will explore town. We have been given a map with coupons from the ship or maybe the pier staff, I forget which. My daughter uses it like a treasure map, and we collect a poncho, a totem pole charm, and a train charm for her. I pick up a tanzanite necklace (free), tanzanite studs, and an icicle stretch ring for like $15. It’s so cute how they call Mystic Topaz “Northern Lights” up here. The town is alive with the Fourth of July festivities, and we observe a tug of war in the street. We enjoy some old-timey music outside the Red Dog Saloon, and pick up some super-cool sun-activated color souvenirs at Del Sol, before heading back to the ship.
We bring our paints and art supplies back up to the Windjammer. We set up shop near a panoramic window, and enjoy watercoloring. We honor my friend Noel who watercolored on her travels, before she passed away. I highly encourage painting along your travels.
Here are some pics from the family at their dog mushing excursion. More puppies!
We all dine together in the Sapphire Dining Room. The girls have a system where they trade vegetables. After dinner, we enjoy Shirley Temples and watch the magician show in the Theater.
And finally, we happen to pass by Karaoke singalong as they are playing “We Are Family,” so me and my daughter step up to the mic. I know this is what you have all been waiting for, right? Here’s our lil video! So much fun!
I get the kids in bed and then step out for a late night dessert with my husband. Someone recognizes me in the elevator from Karaoke. That’s always fun. 🙂 We are enjoying these cheesecake lolly-pop’s in Café Promenade. And we are happy with this day. Tomorrow there will be glaciers! I can’t wait to show you the amazing pics of the glacier just off our balcony!.