So, I’m sitting here on my balcony, trying to blog about the breathtaking beauty of Glacier Bay. But every time I start typing, a whale spouts right off starboard. Or a sea otter floats by on his back. Or flocks of birds glide overhead. It is really hard to concentrate on blogging when you’re cruising through Glacier Bay. But I will try.
No words can describe the complete silence and serenity you feel when you cruise into Glacier Bay. The only way to see this beautiful place up close is by boat. It is so remote and so pristine, you feel as if you’re the first one to explore it. As John Muir said (and my family and friends know that I can never visit a national park without quoting John Muir), “The very thought of this, my first Alaskan Glacier garden, is an exhilaration.”
We got up really early so we could go on deck to see the wildlife and the glaciers–the stars of the day. Princess Cruises has an onboard naturalist (ours was Rachel Dunham, from Portland, Oregon), who was up early to alert us to the wildlife that was visible. On our way into Glacier Bay this morning, we saw a bunch of humpback whales (unfortunately too far away for me to capture clearly on my camera), some harbor seals, sea otters and lots and lots of birds. Rachel’s commentary was piped over the intercom, so we always knew where to look. At around 9:30 am, a small skiff pulled up beside our ship, and three park rangers climbed aboard. They reported on the sights for the rest of the day, and also roamed the decks so we could ask them questions. It was great having our own personal nature guides sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm about Glacier Bay.
And then, there were the glaciers. That’s when the silence stops. You can hear the glaciers cracking and see them break off into the sea, something known as calving. And when a glacier calves, it sounds like thunder.
At 7:30 a small skiff pulled beside our ship again to bring the rangers back to their cabin on a small island in the middle of Glacier Bay. And I sat on my balcony in the never-ending Alaskan daylight and blogged…while the whales spouted…and the otters floated by…and the birds soared overhead.
It was a bit grey and overcast when we sailed into Glacier Bay.
But then, the sky brightened.
A small skiff dropped the park rangers off. They actually live on an island in the middle of Glacier Bay.
We saw many glaciers, but the most memorable was Margerie Glacier. It was enormous!
Glaciel ice is blue. it looks as if someone sprayed Windex on it.
The ice gets carved into interesting shapes.
When you see a glacier up close, you can grasp how the moving ice carved right through mountains. And they are still moving.
Our day on Glacier Bay was simply amazing.
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I’ve been traveling through Alaska on a media trip hosted by Princess Cruises. My first week was spent exploring Fairbanks and Denali National Park. The second week we’ll be cruising through Glacier Bay and touring Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan on the Diamond Princess. I’ve been reporting along the way.
So Let Me Tell You a Little About Our Tour Guide.
When vacationing, I’m not usually a guided tour kind of girl. Let’s just say I’m happiest striking out on my own and discovering things at my pace. But in Alaska, it’s a really smart idea to have a tour director to manage the land portion of your trip. The territory is so vast, and the excursion options can be overwhelming and confusing. It’s great to have a point person who can help you figure out what to do each day–someone experienced, who knows the optimum times to hike or go flightseeing. Someone who can tell you which is the best hiking trail for your level of expertise. For us, that person is Lori Butler, who manages land tour groups for Princess Cruises. She has lived in Alaska for many years and is a wealth of knowledge about the state.
Lori is part concierge, part den mother. Not only does she arrange everything for her groups, she travels with them throughout the land tour. Today she rode with us on the train from Denali Princess Lodge to Mt. Mc Kinley Princess Wilderness Lodge, sharing lots of interesting anecdotes about the sights and the Alaskan culture along the way.
Say hi to Lori, our amazing tour guide.
She made sure all 37 of us made the train with plenty of time to spare.
She was prepared for anything! We have a number of families with young children on our trip, and she bought crafts books and stickers to keep them busy. I think that goes beyond the call of duty!
How cute is this paper dolls book! I liked it so much, Lori gave me one of my own.
Lori has been such a valuable member of our group. Her stories and her wisdom have brought the Alaskan culture alive for us. She taught us that the random ponds we see are called kettle ponds because of their tea kettle shape. She told us all about fireweed, and how when it blooms all the way to the top, it means summer is over. And she gave us some good safety instructions: If you come upon a moose and her baby in the woods, walk slowly away. But if mom moose pulls her ears back, it means she’s going to charge, so you’d better hide behind a tree. Luckily, we never met up with a charging moose! But if we ever do in the future, we’ll know what to do, thanks to Lori.
Unfortunately, we will have to leave Lori behind when it’s time to board the ship. She’ll have a new land group to lead, and we have some glaciers to see. But we will never forget her, and feel so fortunate to have had her guiding us through the Alaskan wilderness.
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Ever wonder what it’s like to vacation in Alaska? Follow me for the next two weeks as I visit Alaska by land and sea. Princess Cruises is graciously hosting me on a media trip, where I’ll spend the first week exploring Fairbanks and Denali National Park, and the second week cruising through Glacier Bay and touring Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan.
Denali National Park
When you go into Denali National Park, you should travel with two main goals in mind, said our driver Clay Walker on the 8-hour Tundra Wilderness Tour. Goal # 1: To get back. This place is 6 million acres–the size of Massachusetts! You don’t want to explore it alone or unprepared. Goal # 2: To see “the mountain”. Some people call it Mt. McKinley. But in Alaska you call it Denali, its native name, which means “the great one.” Denali is the highest peak in North America, elevation 20,320 feet. We were told that only 30% of visitors get to see even a glimpse of this magnificent mountain, because it is often covered by clouds. So we were very very lucky indeed, because the mountain came out for us in all its glory.
Our first glimpse from the bus window:
Of course, Denali is also known for its wildlife. If it was too far away for us to see clearly, Clay would zoom in on the video screen. Here we have a grizzly mama and cubs and some caribou.
This grizzly was close enough for me to catch on my camera, though he/she forgot to turn and smile.
We kept driving on to Stony Hill Viewpoint, where we got to see this!
Denali is truly the “great one.” A majestic mountain indeed!
READ MORE ABOUT MY ALASKA CRUISE! HERE ARE MY RECENT BLOG POSTS ON:
Ever wonder what it’s like to vacation in Alaska? Follow me for the next two weeks as I visit Alaska by land and sea. Princess Cruises is graciously hosting me on a media trip, where I’ll spend the first week exploring Fairbanks and Denali National Park, and the second week cruising through Glacier Bay and touring Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan. This seems to be an especially popular vacation choice for extended families. I’ve met several multigenerational groups, including one with 4 generations, ranging in age from 6 years old to a 96-year-old great grandma. It’s a great way for big families to reconnect, while exploring Alaska’s vast wilderness. And adding a land tour portion onto your cruise allows you to see the interior parts of the state, before or after your ship sets sail.
We did our land portion before the cruise. As long as the Wi-fi gods cooperate, I’ll be reporting from each place I visit. First up: Fairbanks.
There’s Gold in Them Thar Hills! Fairbanks has an interesting gold mining and prospecting past. On the El Dorado Goldmine Tour, we learned all about the Klondike Gold Rush and then got to pan for some gold nuggets ourselves.
First we got a bag of rocks laced with gold dust.
Then we rinsed and swooshed, so the gold falls to the bottom and the gravel washes away.
Looks like we hit pay dirt!
It gets weighed and we find out how much we’re worth.
Whoo hoo! $9 each! We’re rich!
READ MORE ABOUT MY ALASKA CRUISE! HERE ARE MY RECENT BLOG POSTS ON:
Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about this so-called online business “success rate.” (Or lack thereof.)
It’s pretty grim!
99% of people attempting to do business online fail?!
“Making money online is too hard.”
“Getting clients using the Internet is a pipe dream.”
“The only people who succeed at marketing online are the ones charging $100,000 a pop to teach YOU only bits and pieces of how to…market online.”
(Gotta love that one!)
Sheesh, what exactly is going on out there?
Maybe you’ve been told these things too.
Click on the video below NOW to find out more:
I remember my own struggle trying to figure out all of this “stuff”–how it all worked and fit together and made sense. It’s really, really hard when you’re getting it all in pieces…and you just can’t find the light in the fog to save your life! (Plus, you’re watching all these other people who seemingly have it all figured out succeed around you. Pardon my language–but it flat-out sucks. I know.)
If only I had figured out the model and the system sooner, it would have saved me a lot of heartache (not to mention frayed nerves and a heap of credit card debt.)
But now I’m your girl with the plan.
And that plan has meant more income and more freedom for not only myself, but my clients and students as well.
I’ve continuously taken action, studied under successful mentors and leveraged the Internet and social media to build a 6-figure business in under 3 years.
So…what if I handed you the strategies and steps that finally pulled it all together for you? That finally helped you get CLEAR on what you need to do to leverage the web to break 6 figures and beyond?
And it was in a completely no-strings-attached, no-cost training call that laid it all out clearly for you?
It’s a completely no-charge call that is going to help you FINALLY discover the missing link to using the Internet to make more money, get more clients, and GET OUT THERE in a much bigger way.
In this completely complementary training call, I will reveal to you some of my very top strategies, secrets and tips that will get you on your own road to a highly leveraged, 6-figure business you love (and no, it’s not a pipe dream…I’m living proof.) It’s going to be jam packed with in-depth content, and I am putting all the pieces together in a way that NO ONE ELSE is. (Yes, I’m taking a stand on this!) It’s the all-inclusive online marketing plan you’ve been searching for.
The icing on the cake? I’m even going to be giving you a juicy worksheet to help you learn everything at an even deeper level. Good stuff!
Just put your name and primary email in the boxes on the page to grab your spot on this exciting new call where I teach you super-important, can’t-miss content about how to rock your business online–whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or just getting started.
This is what you need. I’m so looking forward to sharing this ALL with you!
Last night was time to confront Cash Flow in the 15-week entrepreneurial training course I teach for the Women’s Enterprise Development Center (WEDC) in White Plains, NY. It’s always the class that gives everyone headaches and anxiety attacks…and even the big jar of chocolate coins I bring along to “sweeten the pot” doesn’t help.
Having a business idea is the fun part. Figuring out what it will earn….not so much. But it’s so important to track your start up expenses, overhead and other costs, and figure out exactly what you need this business to do for you financially. Is it going to simply cover the “extras” in your household, or is this going to be a serious income that keeps your household afloat. I always say, cash flow is no different than budgeting for your household expenses…no different than balancing a checkbook. You know what bills are coming up…you know what money is coming in… and whether you’ll have enough to pay them, with ideally, some cash left over. Same principle with cash flow. If you take time to periodically plan your business spending and earning goals, you’ll have money in your pocket. And I don’t mean chocolate coins!
I know I’m not the only mompreneur wondering how to master the confusing art of search engine optimization (SEO). I mean, just when I think I’ve got it down, there’s something new to know about. So last night I went to a workshop on the topic, given by Lisa Kaslyn of Prosper Communications and held at W@tercooler in Tarrytown, a stylin’ co-working space founded by one of my former WEDC students, Jenifer Ross.
According to Lisa, you should prioritize your SEO strategy into 3 basic steps:
1. Absolutely know where you are appearing on searches. Where are your keywords surfacing and who’s beating you out?
2. Entice search engine robots with frequent new content. “Content is still king,” says Lisa. It’s what attracts visitors and search engines to your site. She suggests you blog at least once a week. “Plan posts in advance, like magazines plan editorial calendars. It helps make the process less stressful.”
3. Then use content to drive your social media. Tweet about what’s new on your site. Post on your Facebook business page about recent videos or blog posts. If you’re in a visual biz (photography, fashion, home or garden design and the like) consider pinning pictures on Pinterest to drive traffic back to your site.
Here are some more SEO strategies Lisa says you need to know right now:
• The longer you’ve had your site and the more content you have on it, the better you’ll be found by search engines. “Good history is the holy grail of SEO,” says Lisa.
•Join Google + . Those posts now appear on Google searches too and can help you rank higher.
•Claim your Google places page–especially important for local businesses that want customers to find them.
•Scale your site content for smart phones and tablets (talk to your web person about how to go about doing this). “Flash is not SEO friendly,” points out Lisa.
•Use videos to drive traffic back to your site. For example, a home organizer can do a quick lesson on taming the junk drawer. But keep videos under 2 minutes.
•Talk with your web master to make sure every single page of your site is optimized for your keyword terms.