Girl Scouts in Alaska

Barb and Casey in Alaska

Barb and Casey in Alaska

*Website Update – I changed the layout of this page so that I could add the new information at the top of the page. Older posts and updates at the bottom.

I have set up this page on my website to post pictures and updates  from Barb and Casey while on their trip in Alaska. I don’t know how often I will receive new pictures and updates, as they will be in many areas with no cell phone signal.

When they do have cell service, it’s often too slow to send photos.

Some friends and family members may not be on Facebook, where I’m also posting things as they send them. This seems like a good place where I can make the story available to everyone as I follow those two as they trek around Alaska.

Also, if someone else receives pictures or updates from someone in the group, feel free to add to the comments section below!


DAY TWENTY (Tuesday, August 9th)

7:30 am, Alaska time – Barb just called me with an update. The group had a nice dinner last night, and met with some friends they have made in Ketchikan. It sounds like there were a lot of mixed emotions in the group, as they prepare to leave Alaska, say goodbye to some new friends and yet looking forward to being home.

One of the friends they met in Ketchikan is going to load everyone’s packs into the back of her truck and transport them to the ferry that will take them to the airport. That way they will not have to carry the packs on the bus, and save some trouble and space. They will then ferry across a channel to the airport and get checked in for their flight to Seattle. Alaska Air flight #62 is scheduled to depart at 1:30 pm Alaska time, and arrive in Seattle at 4:40 pm local time. At 5:30 pm local time, Alaska Air flight #26 is scheduled to depart Seattle and scheduled to arrive in Chicago at 11:30 central time.

For anyone interested in tracking the flights, you can go to and enter in Alaska Airlines (ASA) and then the flight number and watch the flight as it tracks to the destination. When you look for the airline in the drop-down menu, note that it looks to be in alphabetical order (it is) but there are two lists. If you don’t see Alaska Airlines (ASA) in the list, continue down the list and it will start a new list in alphabetical order. Enter the flight number, then click “track flight.” It will update on departure times and show a map of where the flight currently is.

It has been fun to track the group and their activities and adventures on this website, and I hope many of you enjoyed the updates and pictures. I will leave this Page here for some time, and if I need to move it, I will give you all the new links.

Barb has her own photography business, and I’m just guessing that she will put a lot of pictures on her website gallery as she gets time. I have not spoken to her about this, but I believe she will be doing that in the near future. When she does, I will post the links here and anyone can go and see some of the pictures she has taken on their trip that she couldn’t send me while in Alaska.

If you would like to know when any updates or new information is available, please feel free to send me an email with the subject line “Alaska” and I’ll send you an email when new pictures (or anything else) is available. Send the email to donnie(dot)light(at)

Thank you all for your comments!




DAY NINETEEN (Monday, August 8th)

Update: 6:30 pm, Alaska Time

Barb called me asking that I make this update: Trish is famous in Ketchikan! As the pie-eating winner in her age group, her name was listed in the local paper. I tried to find the article online, but the Ketchikan paper online edition requires a paid subscription. I’m guessing someone picked up a copy to bring home.

The weather is holding out for the group, and they were going to the restaurant for a final dinner out before leaving for home tomorrow. After the lumberjack show this afternoon, the girls did some more shopping. Barb said some of the shops were closed at 3:00 pm local time because the cruise ships had left the area, along with the crowds.

Pie-Eating Contest

Pie-Eating Contest

7:00 am, Alaska Time.

Got a phone call from Barb both last night and again this morning. She also sent me a few more photos overnight. The church where they are staying has wi-fi, but it’s pretty slow and limits the number of photos they can send in a reasonable time. She tells me these will most likely be the last photos she sends from Alaska. (That doesn’t mean we might not post anymore here, so check back in coming days!

Pie-Eating in Ketchikan

Pie-Eating in Ketchikan

The group has plans to go to the Ketchikan Lumberjack Show this afternoon at 1:00 pm Alaska time. Barb said they may also get a chance to do some “log-rolling” themselves while they are there, but not certain of that yet.

They have had good weather while in Ketchikan, which is typically one of the rainiest areas on their tour. After the lumberjack show, the group will likely continue to shop and explore around town before they end the evening with a special dinner out, then go back and get organized and packed for their trip home tomorrow.

The airport in Ketchikan is on an island, and the group will take a bus to a small ferry that will take them across the channel to the airport. They are scheduled to leave around 1:30 PM Alaska time, on Alaska Air flight #62 to Seattle. Then to Chicago to arrive around 11:30 pm, Central Time. Then, of course, on to home for everyone.

And a few more…

DAY EIGHTEEN (Sunday, August 7th)

Saxman Native Village

Saxman Native Village

I talked to Barb at about 6:30 am, Alaska time this morning. She said that after the Blueberry Festival yesterday, they went to Saxman Native Village for a Ceremonial Totem Pole Raising. The Saxman area is still inhabited by the Tlingit people, the original inhabitants of the area. Barb said the ceremony was very interesting.

The group is not sure if they are going to the Lumberjack Show today or tomorrow, and Mrs. G was going to make a phone call to find that out.  Sounds like the group is just looking at different opportunities in the area and deciding what they will do based on group interest.

Ketchikan is a popular stop for cruise ships, and the town is occasionally flooded with visitors as the cruise ship stop and allow tourists ashore to shop and see the sights.

DAY SEVENTEEN (Saturday, August 6th)

Quicker Update: 7:30 pm Alaska Time

Barb sent me a video a couple of days ago of Casey on the zip line in Juneau. I can’t host videos on this site, but my son posted it on YouTube so I could put a link to it on this site for anyone interested. It’s just a few seconds long, but give you the idea of what the zip-line tour was like. Click here to see the video on YouTube.

Quick Update: 12:30 pm, Alaska time

Barb just called me from Ketchikan. The group has spent the morning at the Blueberry Festival, and some of them entered the pie-eating contest. Trish won in her age group! Barb got runner-up along with others. Barb said aside from the pie, she had a “reindeer sausage” sandwich for lunch.

The group was waiting for a bus to take them to a nearby village, where they will watch a “totem-pole raising” ceremony. I guess there will be some Alaska politicians there for the ceremony, including U.S. Senators.

Slug Races

Slug Races

7:00 am, Alaska time – I got an email from Barb overnight. The group left Wrangell by ferry yesterday at 1:30 pm, Alaska time. They arrived in Ketchikan at 8:15 pm.

They made a quick trip to the store for supplies, where Barb tells me they picked up something called “Nutella.” I have never heard of Nutella, so I looked it up. It appears to be a peanut-butter type product made in Italy, that contains a hazelnut-based spread with a small amount of cocoa. She told me the girls love it – and so does she.

Ketchikan is having a “Blueberry Festival” this weekend, where one of the attractions is “Slug Racing.” Of course, I had to look this up too, and found out a bit about it. Apparently, Banana slugs and other types of slugs inhabit the rain forest of the northwest U.S. including southern Alaska. Banana slugs are large slugs, many of which are bright yellow, hence the name. People in Ketchikan gather up some slugs, and place them within a circle on a special surface made for slug racing. The first slug to cross the line of a larger circle, wins.

Banana Slugs

Banana Slugs

Since the festival is centered around Blueberries, there are also activities like pie-eating contests and blueberry-rolling contests. I’m only guessing that the group will have ample opportunities to sample a number of blueberry dishes and treats.

Barb called me while I was typing this, and says they have wi-fi at the church where they are staying, but it’s password protected so they can’t get online. They are going to try to get the password so they can send a few more pictures. She said the view out the church window is of the Ketchikan harbor, and beyond that, all mountains. She said there is a steady flow of sea planes landing on the harbor, and that many ships and ferries come into the harbor, including cruise ships. Ketchikan has a population of 15,000, and Barb says the town is 22 miles long – all of it along a single road, except in the downtown area.

They plan to spend the entire day at the blueberry festival, and the girls are looking forward to a street dance and music later this evening.

DAY SIXTEEN (Friday, August 5th)

Update: 7:30 am Alaska time – more pictures.

Back Deck of Ferry

Back Deck of Ferry

Barb has sent me a couple of emails with attached pictures. Some of the pictures from the Fish Hatchery they visited in Kake, and other pictures from the Ferry Trip from Sitka to Kake. They got a couple of pictures of breeching whales on the ferry ride. The picture of the big ship is the ferry boat they were on, which passed by the church where they were staying after they got off. I’m just going to lump the pictures below, so you can click on any picture and see a larger image.

The group was having breakfast and then they have to clean up the area where they were staying, wash the dishes and mop the floors, then pack and get ready to board the ferry to Ketchikan at about noon, Alaska time. Barb told me it would be a six-hour trip.

Pictures from the Fish Hatchery – 

Pictures from the ferry –

6 am Alaska time – new pictures from back in Sitka and ferry trips

Russian Sailors in Sitka

Russian Sailors in Sitka

Finally got to talk with Barb on the phone yesterday – actually talked to her a couple of times. In fact, she woke me up at midnight last night – she forgot about the 3-hour time difference! I got a chance to get some details about their trip, and she sent me a few more pictures.

Yesterday, the group went looking for garnet stones on a nearby island. It was a rainy day, and they were picked up by a small boat and taken to an island to search for garnets. The group had asked everyone what they needed to bring, but nobody told them they needed to bring their own tools to hunt for the stones. When they met the boat, they also met their guide for the day – and 11-year-old girl named Ashley. Even though Ashley was only eleven, she had been working on the island since she was five and knew a lot about how and where to find the stones.

She told the group that they would need a hammer and a chisel to break the stones loose from the surrounding rock. They made a quick stop at a hardware store and bought one hammer and a few chisels, then headed to the island. Barb said the tide was out, and the boat had to navigate some narrow channels to avoid the sandbars that were now exposed.

Once on the island, they found that there was not a “mine” in the way people think of one, but that there were areas of exposed rock amid the natural landscape of the island, which was a dense rain forest. Everything was wet and the trails were slippery. Barb said this was the most “adventurous” excursion that had been on yet. Climbing slippery, muddy trails to get to a likely spot to hunt for garnets, then wallowing in the mud to dig around for rocks. With only one hammer to share among them, many of the girls took to pounding with rocks or cast away tools that had been left behind by others.

I’m not sure how many in the group actually found garnets, but Barb said Anni found the largest, and Barb also found a nice one. They were all very impressed with 11-year-old Ashley, and took her to dinner last night after they returned to Wrangell.

DAY FIFTEEN (Thursday, August 4th)

UPDATE: 8:00 am Alaska time. New Pictures

I called Barb’s phone and she answered. We got to chat for a few minutes. There is wi-fi in the church where they are staying, and she was able to use someone’s laptop to send me a few pictures from their zip-line tour back in Juneau.

She also said that they were going to a garnet mine today, and had to walk to a dock where a small boat would pick them up and take them there.

The weather has been nice the past few days, with periods of rain followed by some sunshine.

5:00 am, Alaska time

Got an email update from Barb late last night. Not sure what the phone situation is, because she asked me to text her, but I don’t know if she has tried calling or not.

The group arrived in Wrangell at 9:15 am Alaska time yesterday, after boarding in Kake at 1:30 am. Sounds like they all tried to get some sleep on the ferry trip, and had a big breakfast on board.

The church where they are staying in Wrangell was less than a ten-minute walk from where the ferry docked. After getting to the church, they dumped their packs and went into town to do some shopping and looking around. They had lunch in town, then walked to Shakes Island and watched a 30-minute performance at Chief Shakes Tribal Gathering Place.

They then went to a local grocery store to buy supplies for dinner, and the group took time to get some laundry done.

DAY FOURTEEN (Wednesday, August 3rd)

Once again, I got an email late last night from Barb with a brief message to share.

She said they has a “slow” day, yesterday. Some of them fished for salmon, but didn’t land any. She said they did have salmon for dinner, thanks to a local 12-year-old, who apparently gave them a  fish.

They got with a local artist/craftsman who helped them all make cedar bracelets, played 4-way tug-of-war with local kids, and roasted marshmallows around a fire. They also saw the “world’s tallest” totem pole yesterday.

When Barb e-mailed me, the group was waiting for their ferry to Wrangell which was set to depart at about 1:00 am, Alaska time. They should be in Wrangell by now, and they were hoping they would have cell service so they could call and perhaps send more pictures.

DAY THIRTEEN (Tuesday, August 2nd)

The group is still in Kake, with little or no cell service. I did get another email from Barb late last night that briefly described their day.

It sounds like they spend a good portion of the day at a fish hatchery, where they all got involved in helping the staff with their work. The girls helped “herd” the salmon, collect eggs in 5-gallon buckets, then wash the eggs and bathe them in iodine before adding them to a tank where they will grow into small fish.

They saw some bears catching salmon in a stream behind the hatchery, and two cubs were up in a tree while mamma fished.

Later, a native singer named Anthony brought two large drums to the church where they are staying. The group members, along with other natives, either beat the drum or danced while Anthony sang in his native language.

The weather was perfect, and they ended the day with fish stew and cake.

That’s about all the info I received, and I hope to get more updates and some pictures when the group gets to Wrangell. They will be in Kake all day today, and will leave for Wrangell late tonight (1:00 am Wednesday morning, Alaska time)

DAY TWELVE  (Monday, August 1st)



I got a call Sunday evening from a gentleman in Alaska who had been trying to get in touch with the group concerning lodging at their next stop. I told him that I had not heard from them all day, but would try to get them a message to call him. I sent a text to Barb and Casey, and Casey replied a short time later that they got the message, but have no cell phone service where they are staying.

I got an email from Barb that came in at 2:30 am Monday our time, 11:30 pm Sunday Alaska time. She said in the email that her Kindle was able to connect to her email account.

She said that they saw a humpback whale on the ferry trip from Sitka to Kake. She said they attended church services on Sunday morning, and the girls sang a song. They them walked the beach at low tide, and saw a number of starfish, some as large as 12 inches across. They visited Cathedral Falls, and picked a variety of berries that grow in the area. They saw a black bear in a local dump.

Just as I began to type this update, I got an email from Barb saying that they were having berries and pancakes for breakfast, then going to visit a fish hatchery, where they will get a tour and be able to help with some of the work that goes on there.

They will be in Kake all day tomorrow, and leaving just after midnight for their next stop in Wrangell.

DAY ELEVEN (Sunday, July 31st)

Sorry there was no update for Sunday. I didn’t get any updates from Alaska until 2:30 am Monday morning (11:30 pm, Alaska time)

DAY TEN (Saturday, July 30th)

Update: 10:00 am Alaska Time

Barb just called me from the deck of the ferry boat they are taking from Sitka to Kake. The boat was just getting underway, still making it’s turn out of the port.

She says it’s a nice day, not raining, good visibility, but mostly cloudy. She says that this boat has showers, a cafeteria, and an open top deck with lounge chairs with heaters above them!

So, the girls are finally underway and headed for Kake after a few hours delay.

PICTURES! Okay, the pictures are not fully cooperating with my ideas on how to display them, so bear with me. Click any of the small images to see a larger image, then click the “back” button on your browser to come back to this page to view another.


More pictures – mostly fishing.


And more random pictures from the group.

6:00 am Alaska time

I got a few pictures from Barb in my email overnight. They had been trying to sort a good collection of photos to upload that showed a variety of activities as well as a good collection of everyone in the group. I will be posting some of those photos on this page, but may have to create a separate page that is just photos. Most of these photos are from earlier in the trip, while in Juneau and while kayaking and hiking.

Barb called me at about 6:00 am Alaska time this morning – from Sitka. They were supposed to have been on a ferry this morning at 2:00 am for a 3:30 am departure time, but the ferry was delayed due to mechanical problems. It will be leaving sometime this morning for their next stop at Kake. Apparently this ferry ship is not as fast as the last one they were one, because even though it’s a shorter trip in terms of miles, it’s a much longer trip in terms of time. They will basically be on the ferry most of the day. However, Barb also said that this ship has some amenities that the last ferry did not have, one being access to an open observation deck. On the last ferry, they were inside and had to look out windows. They did however, see whales. They are hoping to be able to see more on this trip.

The Pallada

The Pallada

Yesterday, the group went to both the Raptor Center and toured the Russian sailing ship, the Pallada,  that’s in port nearby.

Barb said the Raptor Center was really interesting, and they got to see some eagles fairly close up, and learned about eagles and other birds of prey. The Raptor Center is also a rehabilitation center for injured birds where they nurse them back to health.

A local Scout leader loaned the group her car, and then Mrs. G shuttled everyone to the site where they were to tour the Rusiian saling ship, the Pallada.  Here’s a bit of history on the Pallada:

In its 22-year history, the Pallada has sailed for 13 years, called at 101 ports in 35 countries and trained 12,000 cadets, midshipmen and students from all over Russia. Guinness World Records lists the Pallada as the fastest sailing ship in the world. It can reach speeds in excess of 18 knots.

For more information, click the link above to read the whole story. It sounds like a fascinating ship, and Barb says they really enjoyed the tour. She also said it was fun trying to communicate with the Russian crew. She said the ship’s is en route to Honolulu.

They stayed at a large church in Sitka last night, and Barb said they had access to a TV and that the girls found a copy of the animated movie, “Pocahontas,” and watched the movie and sang along with the songs. It was the first TV they has watched since leaving.

DAY NINE (Friday, July 29th)

Girls with native dancer, "Joe"

Girls with native dancer, "Joe"

I got a call from Barb at 6:30 am Alaska time this morning. Most of the group was



still sleeping after a busy day yesterday. She planned on waking some of them up at 7:00 am to start making breakfast. They are staying at a church in Sitka, and will remain in Sitka all day today. She said their schedule calls for them to board a ferry to Kake at 2 am tomorrow morning for a 3:30 departure time. I guess they will get some sleep on the ferry.

The weather was “decent” yesterday in Sitka, mostly cloudy with some sun peeking through at times. The group decided to change the schedule a bit to take advantage of the break in the rain and do mostly outside activities and explore the Sitka area.  It sounds like they did a lot of shopping, and found a great deal on handmade chocolate!

Shopping Fun

Shopping Fun

Apparently, there is a Russian ship in the Sitka port, so there are also a lot of Russian sailors in town. Barb said the group has had a good time trying to communicate with them, as very few speak any english, and those that do speak some english, speak very little. Their ship is about 4 miles from downtown Sitka, and the group is planning a tour of the ship today. A local Scout Leader offered them the use of her car to shuttle small groups to the site until everyone is there, then tour the ship and shuttle everyone back.



They did not visit the Raptor Center yesterday, as it is mostly indoors and they can do that today. It sounds like they adjust their plans to the weather and anything that might come up that sounds interesting. Possible things on today’s schedule include the Russian ship tour, as well as a museum and the Raptor Center.

DAY EIGHT (Thursday, July 28th)

Update: 2:30 pm Alaska Time

Casey sent me a couple of pictures to post.





Here’s one of most of the group.



Update: 10:00 am Alaska Time

Webcam Group

Webcam Group

The group is just arriving in front of the webcam at 1:05 pm central time.

Okay, that was rather chaotic, but we managed to get everyone to stand still long enough for me to capture the screen shot and record the order they were standing in!

There are short masonry walls around the base of the flag poles. Some girls stood on the wall on the right and on the left. The rest of the girls stood across the sidewalk. All the names are in order on the photo. Good luck picking who is who, but Anni and Chelsea are standing on the wall on the right in this photo,, and you can tell it’s two people! The rest are kind of hard to pick out, but at least everyone is there and we can tell they are posing for us! Click on the picture to get a larger view. They are all in the red circle.

Update: 7:00 am Alaska time.

Had a call from Barb less than an hour ago. Most of the girls were still asleep, as this was the first day they did not have to get up early.

Sitka WebCam View

Sitka WebCam View

WebCam – New Update! – I think we have nailed down the time and location for the webcam appearance. Barb told me they went by the Harrigan Centennial Hall yesterday, the site where the webcam is pointed. She described the setting, which matches what I see on the webcam. She told me that they would be standing on the sidewalk where the flagpoles are in the picture, right in front of the building. The webcam address is  They plan to be there at 10:00 am, Alaska time, or 1:00 pm, Central Time. Again, I will be watching and trying to get a screen shot of the group to post here for those who can’t watch it live.



Barb said the today is going to be spent sightseeing around Sitka, with a planned visit to the Raptor Center. The Center has a great website – and is a group that helps rehabilitate wounded birds as well as teach the visitors about them. Great photos on the site.

Raptor Center

Raptor Center

Barb also told me that they were able to download some photos from their cameras onto a computer, and that there is wi-fi available in downtown Sitka. They are going to do their best to send me some more photos to post here. She is also going to make sure all the girls know they can text pictures from their phone to mine, and I can also post those here. Hopefully, there will be more pictures coming soon.

Update 5:00 am Alaska time : The new plan is for the group to be in front of the webcam at 10:00 am, Alaska Time, or 1:00pm Central Time, Today, July 28th. A note about the webcam: It looks to me like the image from the webcam only updates every 20 seconds or so, so it’s not “live motion” and only snapshots that renew 3-4 times a minute. So, I think the best we will see is a few still shots of the group. You may have to hit the “refresh” button for the web page to update the image. I’ll try to get a screen shot and put it here for anyone who missed it.

I never heard back from Barb after her call yesterday morning as they were leaving Juneau. They are in Sitka now. I got an email from Barb some time overnight with the new schedule for the webcam. She also reported that they had halibut sandwiches for dinner last night, and that they were all getting a chance to wash and dry their clothes.

They spent the night in another Church last night, and Barb said it was warm, but the floor was still hard!

I hope to hear from them by phone again today, and if I do I’ll post an update.

DAY SEVEN (Wednesday, July 27th)

Barb called me at 7:00 Alaska time this morning. The entire group was on a bus to the ferry boat that will carry them from Juneau to Sitka. According to the schedule, the trip will take 4-1/2 hours.

Barb said the group is looking forward to a little “down time” while on the ferry, and may catch a nap on the way. Apparently, they can take showers on the ferry as well, and Barb said everyone is looking forward to that.

WebCam update:  When I spoke with Barb this morning, she was also talking with G about the webcam visit. After some discussion, we believe the webcam is located at this website:  They plan to visit the Harrigan Centennial Hall, which is pictured in the webcam view. They simply don’t know yet what time they will be there, but they estimate between 1:30 and 4:30 Alaska time, which is 4:30 and 7:30 Central Time.  Barb said she would call me and let me know as soon as they know how far it is and how long it will take to get there. I will post it here as soon as I know.

Barb told me that everyone enjoyed their time on Mt. Roberts yesterday, and that the zip-line tour was a blast. The weather continues to be in the 50’s with a mix of rain, drizzle and mist in the air.

They stayed at a church in Juneau last night, so they were once again under a roof. Apparently there was a youth-group from New Orleans sharing the area for the night.

Barb also said that while they are on the ferry trip, they plan to try to download pictures from their cameras onto a laptop that someone brought along, and if the ferry boat has wi-fi, they will try to send me pictures. Of course I’ll post them here if that happens. So far, the only pictures I’ve gotten were texted to me via phone.

DAY SIX (Tuesday, July 26th)

Update: 2:30 pm  Alaska time

Barb called me after her group finished their tram tour of Mt. Roberts, and before they got to their zip-line tour. It was still cool and rainy. I told her it was 85º and sunny here, which she repeated loudly to the rest of her group. There was a chorus of moans and groans. I looked at the forecast for the area they are in and it looks like highs in the 50’s and rain and drizzle for a few more days. Barb reminded me that they are in a rain forest, and it’s the rainy season there.

Here are a few pictures that were sent to me. I don’t get comments on them, so what you see is what you get.

There have been some questions about  WEB-CAM appearance from Sitka, when they get there later today. I asked Barb about it, and she said they plan to do it, but they did not know what time. I believe the plan is for the group to get on a ferry boat on Wednesday morning which will take them to Sitka. I looked up the ferry schedule, and it looks like the ferry leaves Juneau at 8:00 am each day, and arrives in Sitka at 12:30 pm – all Alaska times.

If I get information on the Web-Cam, and when that might happen, I’ll post it here. and send email to those I have addresses for. The plan is for the group to get in front of the web-cam and wave at us all.

Barb called me at 10:30 am, Alaska time. Once again, she only had a few minutes, so the talk was brief.

The group was on a bus heading for Mt. Roberts where they will engage in a tram ride to the top of the mountain, as well as zip-line tours on the mountain. The way she explained it was that half of the group will be on the tram tour while the other half does the zip-line, and then they will switch and do the other.

She said it was raining, but they were supposed to be walking to the mountain, but got lucky and caught a bus.

She also asked me to change the name of this page to “Girl Scouts in Alaska” because they are sharing the link with other families and some of the other group members want to send me pictures to post. I’m texting Barb and Casey a link, and they will share with the others.

DAY FIVE (Monday, July 25th)

At 7 pm Central time, or 4 pm Alaska time, I got a five-minute phone call from Barb. They are back to the Boy Scout camp, having paddled back from the island earlier today.

She told me that it took them 4 hours to paddle out to the island in their kayaks, and that the weather going out was bright and sunny and they all got a bit of a sunburn. Their second night on the island, it rained. Cold rain. Their tents did not have rain flys, and she said they got some water in the tents.

The rain continued, and the guide decided to make the trip back to the scout camp before the weather got worse. They paddled hard through cold rain, but made it back in 2.5 hours with no stops. Everyone was cold and soaking wet.

The plan was for them to spend the night in tents tonight at the Boy Scout camp, but their guide talked to the Scouts and got them into a building. He explained that the group needed a hot meal, and some dry clothes. The Scouts complied, and they will be staying indoors tonight.

The rain had stopped when she called, and the clouds breaking up and the sun peeking through. Barb’s cell phone was almost dead, and she wanted to let a couple of the girls call home before it completely died. She said she would call me again tomorrow from Juneau.

DAY FOUR (Sunday, July 24th)

I missed a call from Barb at about 8:30 Alaska time!  I’m not sure how I missed the call, as I had my phone with me at that time. Anyway, she left a brief message, just to let me know the kayak trip was “awesome” (in her words). She only talked for a minute, and didn’t tell me where she was calling from. However, when she was signing off, she mentioned that she needed to let some of the other girls call home. The message was crystal-clear, so I’m thinking there might be a pay phone somewhere on the island, and they were taking turn using it. She said she would try calling me back later today.

DAY THREE (Saturday, July 23)

Barb called me at 8:30 Alaska time from the Boy Scout camp. They were packing up their kayaks with all the gear and food they need for two days on the island. She didn’t have much time, but said that Bald Eagles were everywhere. The guide prepared some of the salmon they caught for dinner, and she said it was fabulous. The guide took a salmon fillet, and wrapped it in foil with some cut-up onion and a squirt of ketchup. Then laid it on or near the campfire to cook.

They have allowed 5 hours for the kayak trip to the island, with one stop on another island along the way. She let me know that there is likely no phone coverage on the island, so we might not hear from them until they return to the Boy Scout camp.

UPDATE – (July 22, 7:50 PM)

Barb Fishing

Barb just called to give me an update. She was surprised that she was able to make a call from the Boy Scout camp where they are staying, but it worked!

She said that it took an hour to hike to the camp, and there are two people who are acting as “hosts” of the scout camp. These hosts prepared lunch for the group, consisting of turkey sandwiches and fruit. They also help set up the camp and provide the gear for their fishing trip.

The camp is  just a  5- minute  walk  from a saltwater beach. The group has been fishing and wading along the beach all afternoon. Salmon are plentiful, and that is what they plan on having for dinner tonight. Barb says the water is cold, but can be tolerated for wading. Otherwise, it’s in the 70’s again today and mostly sunny.

The group have seen a number of Bald Eagles in the area, as well as sea lions along the beach chasing the salmon. Their kayak guide is in a camp nearby, and says that whales to frequent the area, but none have been spotted yet.

Casey Fishing

Barb says that they are along the inside passage, and a number of large and small islands can be seen offshore. Many of these islands also have mountains, all capped with snow.  They have spotted a small fishing boat offshore, and a couple of kayaks passing by. Tomorrow will be the start of their kayak trip.

Once again, they do not know how dependable the cell service in the area will be, so we might not hear from them for a while. But when I do, I’ll get the scoop and put it right here.

DAY TWO (Friday, July 22)

Barb called me at about 7:30 my time this morning, which was about 4:30 am in Alaska. It doesn’t get dark there at night during this time of year, and Barb described it as “being like 7 PM at our house on a cloudy day.” They hung
temporary curtains over the windows to try to darken it up a bit for sleeping. The church they are staying in has a full kitchen and food pantry, and the church allows them to use from it and then make a donation to offset the cost of the food. They planned on making pancakes this morning when everyone was up and about.

After breakfast, they will pack their gear and be driven part of the way to a Boy Scout camp. They will have to hike in the last two miles as there are no roads going to the camp. They will spend the day at the camp, and I believe they will get a chance to go fly-fishing today, gear supplied at the camp. (I’m hoping for some fish pictures – but don’t know if they will have a cell phone signal) They spend the night at the Boy Scout camp, then tomorrow morning will meet their guide for a 5-hour kayak trip to an island offshore. There, they will set up camp and spend two nights.

DAY ONE (Thursday, July 21)

Barb and I picked up Casey from Grandma Nancy’s house yesterday (Thursday) morning at about 3:15 am. We then drove to
the Rockford bus terminal so they could catch a ride to O’Hare on the 4:10 am bus.

Tracking Flight

Tracking Flight

We were the first ones from the group to arrive at the bus terminal, but others began to arrive soon after. Much of the
group had already gotten on the bus in South Beloit. Their backpacks, fully loaded were packed on the bus, which promptly left for O’hare at 4:10 am.

Upon arrival at O’Hare, the group made all the arrangements and checked their backpacks for the tip. Their flight on Alaska Airlines was scheduled to leave at around 8:00 am. The majority of the group were all on the same flight, but
the group leader and one or two others were taking a different flight, which I later found out ended up being cancelled!

The largest part of the group left on time, and were going to Seattle to catch a second flight to Juneau, Alaska, after a 2 or 3 hour layover in Seattle. During the layover, Barb talked to the group leader and found out they were making arrangements around the cancelled flight, and were now going from Chicago to Minneapolis, then on to Seattle, then to Anchorage, Alaska, then back down to Juneau! They would obviously be arriving much later than the rest of the group.

The larger group made it to Juneau on time, arriving at about 2:30 local Alaska time, or about 5:30 Central Time. Barb called me from the Juneau airport for an update, but it was a busy time as everyone retrieved their backpacks and found their way around. Apparently, they didn’t waste much time. I received a text-message from Casey in the evening, with an attached picture of Barb. That’s the Mendenhall Glacier in the background.

Barb in Alaska

Barb in Alaska

The temperature was 71º and mostly sunny. Barb mentioned that the glacier is only two miles away, but that some of the
trails were closed and they could not get much closer. This morning, Nancy told me that she heard on the news that the warm temperatures were causing melting on the glacier, and I’m guessing that’s why the trails were closed.The group was reunited at about 9:30 last night when those from the cancelled flight finally arrived.

They spent the night in a church, sleeping on the floor in the Fellowship hall.

15 Responses to “Girl Scouts in Alaska”

  1. Terry & Marge Lantz Says:

    “The temperature was 71º and mostly sunny.” We’ll take that temp in Illinois most any time, ‘speshully now! You will love Alaska. We sure did!

  2. scott grabow Says:

    thank you for doing the updates for the parents and fiends of the girls. it is great to see pictures and here stories almost as they happen.
    Scott Grabow father of Chelsea Grabow

  3. Gina Morley Says:

    Thanks for doing this. Beth Ann’s texts are few and far between. It’s nice to have so much more detail!

    Beth Ann and Mrs. G were the two that got left behind. They finally arrived at the church in Juneau at 12:36am on 7/22/11 – 21 hrs after they met at the S. Beloit bus terminal to head to ORD. As Beth Ann described their day: breakfast in Chicago, lunch in Minneapolis with a visit to Mall of America, dinner in Anchorage, and dessert in Juneau!

    Gina Morley

  4. Sandy Fordell Says:

    Thank you so much for the updates. Texts can only get you so far.
    On July 30th Anni sent me the following text:
    “Hey Guess what? We just saw a bear, jellyfish and 4 whales!”
    “The whales were like 30 yards from the ferry and the jellyfish were feet from the ferry … the bear we saw in a creek from our cars!”
    Sounds like the girls are having so much fun but there was a small bout of homesickness.
    She was also very exciting about touring the underbelly of the russian sail boat.

    Looking forward to more updates.

  5. Kimberly McHugh Says:

    Thank you for the much anticipated updates. It is so neat to hear how their days are being spent. I have spoken with Trisha twice and Tiffany only once. None of our text have gone through. However, when we have spoken, the girls expressed how thrilled they were with the Alaska adventure! They, too, shared the awesome abundance of wildlife that enriched their trip. Trisha said her favorite destination so far was Kake. She was touched by the genuine kindness expressed by all of the Alaskans the girls have met on this trip. Thank you, again, and I will check for more updates.

  6. Donnie Light Says:

    Kimberly – Trisha is not the only one who feels that Kake was her favorite stop – and for the same reasons. Barb was also very impressed with the kindness of the people in Kake. Barb also says many of the girls felt the same. It is the kind of place that leaves an impression on you after you leave. Thanks to all for the comments.

  7. Kimberly McHugh Says:

    I am so excited to hear the girls are in Ketchikan and at the Blueberry Festival. Tiffany called last night and said she and Trisha were really looking forward to all of the activities associated with the Blueberry Festival. I know they will enjoy going to a street dance. I’m certain they are trying desperately to find showers before that event! ha ha! Tiffany also expressed they eagerly anticipated going to the ESPN Lumberjack Show. It sounds like Ketchikan is going to be the perfect grand finale to their Arctic Blast! Finally, I know for this mother, my heart is ready for my girls to head home, as I am really missing them. I can hardly wait to hug Trisha and Tiffany and hear EVERY detail of the trip. In the meantime, thank you Donnie for your priceless updates! Kim

  8. Donnie Light Says:

    I’m sure you are right about trying to find a shower! Barb didn’t mention that this morning, so I assume they have access to a shower where they are staying.
    I’ve enjoyed doing these updates, and always look forward to getting some news from the group. Yesterday, there were 280 views of the “Girl Scouts in Alaska” page, so apparently a lot of folks are checking in and following the updates.

  9. Shirley Penberthy Says:

    Donnie, This is Tiff and Trishes Grandmother and I have really enjoyed your site. Thank you so much for the chance to see what my girls have been doing. Shirley

  10. Donnie Light Says:

    Hi Shirley,
    I guess Trish won the blueberry pie-eating contest for her age group! I just made an update to the site regarding their afternoon in Ketchikan. I appreciate the kind words…

  11. Rebecca Glon Says:

    Kake was the best stop by far 🙂 I started to miss them as soon as I walked away from the group in Wrangell! Can’t wait to see them all again soon.

  12. Kimberly McHugh Says:

    Donnie, As the girls head home, I just want you to know that your posts meant so much to our whole family. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. The McHughs

  13. Barbara Light Says:

    Thank you so much to my wonderful, thoughtful, creative husband who took the time to share mine and all the others Alaska experience with all our friends and family. It was an experience I think none of us will ever forget. I think we all came home with a different out look on life and the amenities we all take for granted.

    • Louise Glon Says:

      This is ‘G’ and this is my first time to view the site and read comments. I can’t Thank You enough for all you have done Donnie!! It has been fun hearing comments from you through Barb when you all talked each day. We were thrilled that the parents and friends were able to access our trip and see the exciting things their Mariner Girl Scouts were doing. It also made them feel more in touch with their daughters. It was a great trip and your site made it all the better. We’ll all have to get together after all the pictures are developed, and get to actually meet Donnie-our “Editor”.
      Thanks again!!
      Louise GLon

  14. First Presbyterian Church Sitka, Alaska Says:

    Dear Girl Scouts:
    The Members of the First Presbyterian Church would like to take this opportunity to formally express our thanks and appreciation to every young lady in your troop.
    We thank you for the wonderful work you did assisting in wedding for one of our elderly members. Also we noticed what a great job you did cleaning and mopping in the kitchen, and other areas around the building was work that does not go unappreciated or unnoticed.
    Your energy, enthusiasm, and willingness to help with these projects is truly a blessing to us. We know that, as Scouts, you take pride in your accomplishments. You are justified in feeling proud of what you have helped others accomplish.
    A special note of thanks, to your leaders, for their coordination and time spent on your recent travels to Sitka Alaska. We pray for a lovely holiday season for your Troop and look forward to a visit from you again in the future.
    Again, many thanks for this work well done!
    God Bless,
    Rev. Diane Wonnenberg

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