Cruise to Alaska - Day Five - Hoonah

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Today we hit Icy Strait Point in Hoonah, AK….our first real taste of living in Alaska. Not a major port, we had to take tenders in to the landing. While a little rough, it wasn’t bad at all.

We had about 30 minutes to explore the museum and gift shop before heading off for our ZipRider tour. We knew we’d spend more time when we got done with our ride.

We loaded up on the local bus to head up the mountain for our ZipRider. It’s the longest, highest and fastest….oh my! What had I gotten myself into…LOL! Our bus driver kept us updated with local what-not information.

While the island is loaded with wildlife (brown bears grow upwards to 800 lbs), we only saw bear scat…no bears. Once at the top of the mountain, we had about a five minute walk down a gravel road to get to the landing for the ride.

We would go in groups of five…separate harness seats though. They strapped the first five in and the rest of us watched expectantly. A loud bang and they were off! I kept telling myself that 60 mph was nothing….I’ve done 90 on my motorcycle. Hee-hee!

Stu went with the group just ahead of me….everyone wanted to go with their “partner” and I had already told him that if we had to separate, could he please go first so he could catch a photo of me. He’d done a zip line before but this was a first for me.

Suddenly it was my turn….the most trouble I had was getting my feet to stay on the trap door in front of me. The rain had gotten worse and both my shoes and the door were wet. Then bang….the doors opened and everyone went….I was the last, not sure why.

The first drop was the worst, then I started to glide along faster and faster. It was cold, the rain was stinging my face and I was having trouble breathing when facing forward. Yup, very much like a motorcycle ride under the same weather conditions.

The sights were amazing….gorgeous views of the bay, the forests, the ship and the little town below. I kept hoping to catch sight of a bear or even some deer but no luck. Before I knew it I was approaching the landing spot. I leaned back and pulled my feet up. I thought I was coming in pretty fast but remembered someone mentioning the springs at the end. They worked and quickly stopped me, much more gently than I anticipated. [I am the last in line in the first photo...] The rain had gotten harder as I came down the mountain...again, felt like riding a motorcycle in heavy rain...stings the face and soaks your pants from the knees down. LOL!

I was laughing and told the guy that undid my harness that the landing was the most fun part. LOL!! Stu was waiting for me and heard that comment. He’d managed to snag a few shots of me and my fellow riders. Great fun!!!

Here are the stats on the ride, from their website:
  • * Length: 5,495 feet long
  • * Vertical Drop: 1,320 feet
  • * Average % grade: 25%
  • * Top Speed: 65 mph
  • * Cables: 6 side by side

We did some visiting in the local gift shops, picked up a few things and then stopped for lunch. We had halibut and chips…decent if pricey. Then it was time to grab a tender back to the ship.

We really enjoyed chatting with the locals in the various shops. Great folks, very grounded and VERY friendly. Our favorite stop so far!!

We opted to eat at the buffet and then caught the dance show put on by the staff. Great show….really enjoyed ourselves. While at the buffet, I snapped a few shots of the melon carvings. Wow!

So, all in all, another great day!!!!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna & Stu

You can see all the photos in our SmugMug Album.


  1. Donna you got more guts than I. There's not a single daredevil bone in this body. Love the pics of Alaska! Thanks for sharing.

    ps. I've finally consolidated my blogs to just ONE! Unfortunately my comments were deleted (read yours & others). You can find me at

    Cheers! Merri

  2. Your trip just sounds better and better. I don't know if I could have done the zip line but know Ron would enjoy that. Thanks for sharing about your trip. Where are you guys now? I just posted our itinerary for the rest of the carnival season on my blog. Are you going to be anywhere around us?

  3. Very cool melons. I would have to think a bit before getting strapped into that chair!


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