Skagway, Alaska was our first port of call on our Voyage of the Glaciers cruise with Princess. As I’ve mentioned before, this was our 4th time taking this exact same cruise; in years past, we had done a couple of wonderful excursions out of Skagway. Two of our favorites were, one, the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad trip; talk about some amazing scenery! Wow, that was a great experience! And two, the “Discovery and Animal Planet Recommended” Musher’s Camp and Sled Dog Experience through Princess (sometimes we’ll book our excursions through Princess and sometimes we book them on our own). As y’all know, I am a dog lover, so this excursion was right up my alley, I had such a wonderful time meeting all of the dogs, hearing the stories about the Iditarod, riding in a cart and being pulled by these awesomely trained dogs, and best of all, meeting all of the new puppies.
On this last trip, we decided to go with another one of the Animal Planet recommended excursions. Once docked in Skagway, we disembarked the Coral Princess and went to meet the Haines Skagway Fast Ferry that would take us to that day’s excursion at the Kroschel Wildlife Center (voted the best tour in Southeast Alaska). The ferry ride was lovely and a naturalist was aboard and narrating the entire trip. We spied an eagle perched high atop a tree:
It took us about 45 minutes to get to Haines on the Ferry and once we arrived, we met up with our next mode of transportation…an old charter bus and its very eccentric driver, “Bob”. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of that charter bus or Bob, but, I can tell you that he had some interesting stories to tell while traversing up mountains on our way to Kroschel’s. He was a hoot and quite entertaining; he told us one story of how he dressed up in a bear costume and went to Skagway to try and scare the people! And I don’t doubt for one second that he did do just that, but, I think he is pretty well known in those parts, so my thoughts were that he provided entertainment and wasn’t all that scary. 😉
ANYway, we finally arrived at our destination and were greeted by our guide for the day, Mario, and he was holding a Hawk; this was just a small glimpse of the wonder that was yet to come. The Kroschel Wildlife Center shelters rescued, abandoned and injured animals. Steve Kroschel is one very special individual and has devoted his life to educating people and bringing awareness to the dwindling wildlife population through his documentaries and his wildlife center (unfortunately, Steve wasn’t there on this day, but Mario was wonderful).
From the moment we climbed off of that school bus I was mesmerized by Mario’s stories as he led us around this very special place.
After we met the Hawks, we met a gorgeous wolf named Isis–We were howling with her in this picture…haha:
And then it was time to meet a fox:
Then Lennox the Lynx and her cub:
Then this little weasel…talk about fast, that little thing zooms around like crazy! (He was tiny too, I don’t know why I thought weasels were much bigger, but this fella was the size of a large mouse)
I believe this was a mink, it wasn’t the friendliest little creature, but it sure was pretty. 🙂
And then there was the Porcupine…Pretty, very gentle, little lady. 🙂
Below is Sue the Moose and I couldn’t believe that I got to kiss her sweet muzzle! (That older gentleman in the picture is Rocky, he is a staple at the Center, he was an integral part of the tour, he didn’t say much, but you could tell that all of the animals just adored him).
Next, we got to feed the reindeer…those antlers are as soft as can be and they were h-u-n-g-r-y, but oh so gentle when they took the dry oatmeal from my hand!
And finally, we got to meet Kitty the Grizzly bear! Unfortunately, Kitty’s is a sad story, her Mama was killed by a hunter who didn’t realize that she had a cub, so Kitty who needed shelter and care was delivered to the Center in a 5-gallon bucket and has obviously thrived since then. They were not able to release her in the wild because her Mama was killed before she could teach Kitty survival skills. So she will live out her life at the Center being lovingly cared for and sufficiently spoon fed with quite the sweet concoction of honey and oatmeal (among other things).
ALL of these animals are so very well treated and loved so much; this is an amazing place with which to get an up close and personal view of some of Alaska’s wildlife. They also give you ample opportunities to get some great pictures and they take their time and tell wonderful stories as you travel around the Center. What an awesome experience! I would totally go back again if we ever find ourselves in Haines, Alaska. 🙂
Sadly, it was time to debark and head back to the Ferry
And we were headed back to our awaiting cruise ship…
Here is a video that I took of our Kroschel’s Excursion:
As always, Skagway didn’t disappoint and as we were pulling away from this port I again got a little misty-eyed because I might not ever get to see those majestic mountains that hold some very fascinating, very special folks.
***Update*** I’ve now completed all of my installments in the Voyage of the Glaciers Series and have included links to the next post in line (so to speak) at the end of each posting. So, here is a link to the next post and it covers our time in Juneau… 🙂
Next stop, Juneau! Sneak peek:
Until next time, y’all take good care! ❤
I’ve also written two other blog posts that go hand in hand with these blog entries. Here is a link to my Alaskan Cruise Wardrobe entry. And my What’s In My Carry On, My Must Haves, and Packing Tips & Tricks entry.