When WordPress Fails…

After our last trip in December, we are now back in Florida. For good? I don’t know. We don’t have any travel plans lurking at the moment, which brings me to panic because I don’t have anything to write about! “That Traveling Nurse” is ALL about the traveling so what is the point of going on if I am just going to be stuck here at home?!? I should change my blog name to something more appropriate and change my style and theme… yes, I am in another quandary. That much is obvious.

But wait, before that quandary above became a quandary today, I decided last week to write a post about Alaska, because, you know this blog is about traveling. Sort of like a little side tale to add to the collection of stories I have published about our Alaska trip already. And because really I have nothing else new and exciting.

The post was about bears. I had a grand time reminiscing our great Alaskan road trip like I always do, looking back at our photos and selecting which ones had the bear images that I could use. I wrote the post and sprinkled it with my favorite bear shots in between.

Then it was time to publish. I automatically looked at the “save” button out of habit even though I knew that WordPress has recently added the auto save function so while you are writing your post, it saves at intervals, which is really a nice feature. However, this time around, the “save” button was missing. A little warning shot fired inside my brain. Uh-oh. Was my work saved? There was no way out of this draft unless I hit publish or refresh. I couldn’t dare hit publish because the anal person in me wants to review and edit first what I wrote. So I clicked refresh and of course, it asked if I wanted to stay or leave the page. I wanted to leave the page, praying that the auto save function kicked in.

No, it did not save anything but the first three lines!!!

I was crushed, appalled, mad… and beyond frustrated! I am sure those of you who have experienced the same thing have felt this way too, right? That I am not just over reacting? When you have finished doing something that you are pleased and proud of, when you have worked hard to do it with your blood, sweat and tears (I am not just talking about blog posts here now) and then, only to have that something lost, stolen, destroyed or worse, not appreciated? Arghhh!!!

My bears were lost in cyberspace. I have their images saved on my media file though. But their stories, gone.

Plus, I refuse to write it all over again.

I seeked help from the WordPress gurus and it was quite awesome their chat feature that I found. I liked it better than waiting for an email response the next day because you are chatting with a live person in real time. So even if the tech person in charge that night didn’t really find my missing post, I felt a little bit better that I was able to vent and tell them my frustrations about the glitches that just happened. Hopefully, they can fix it in due time.

In the meantime, here are my bears…

**No bears or fishermen were harmed in these shots**

Denali in Two Days

The end of our seven day Alaska cruise saw us at Anchorage as the last port. This was where the REAL adventure begins. Where on the cruise ship, we were pampered daily with several choices of delicious hot food and superb room service,  on this next leg of our journey, all seven of us get to be cozy together in one RV camper where we have to buy groceries and cook our own food. No room service of course. Where on the cruise ship, you can take daily hot showers in the tiny bathroom with fresh towels, in the camper, we shared a tiny bathroom where our own house rules do not allow showering or emptying our bowels to prevent the very unpleasant task of unclogging drains or using up precious water supply. Hold that thought, I will talk about that later. 🙂

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However, unlike the cruise ship, we were free to go wherever we wanted, free to explore little towns and off the beaten pathways. Unlike the cruise ship, we didn’t have to dress up fancy nor follow a strict dinner schedule. In other words, we were liberated from mass tourism and can kick up our heels and be as crazy as much as we want.

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After loading up our camper with supplies, we headed north to Denali National Park. We had a 3 day reservation in one of its campgrounds but because we already accomplished what we were set out to do in two days, we shortened our stay and left on the last day and decided to go somewhere else. The beauty of spontaneity.

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Denali National Park and Preserve is America’s third largest national park that covers six million acres of wilderness. It is centered around Mt. McKinley, North America’s highest peak with an elevation of more than 20,000 feet above sea level. Denali, as it is locally called by the Native Americans means The High One.

So, what was there to do in two days?

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Gathering firewood for a campfire, of course! And no, we didn’t forget the s’mores.

Mostly, it was all about the wildlife. If you go to Africa for a safari, Denali is the next best thing. They even have the “Big Five”: grizzly bear, moose, caribou, dall sheep and wolves. We’ve seen three out of the five and other animals as well. This is no zoo, this is their natural habitat.

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Our first animal sightings – caribou! We were so excited!
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This cute lil bugger darted across the road in front of our Denali bus just enough to have his photo taken and then scampered away in the bushes
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Dall sheep. The reason the Park was created for them to be protected. “Whatchulookinat?”
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Find the #1 Dall sheep #2 Grizzly bear
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Arctic ground squirrel standing in attention and another caribou grazing
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We spot a beaver dam on one of our hikes

The Park also has its own team of sled dogs who patrol and protect the park’s vast areas during the wintertime. They have been a vital part of the Park’s history. During summer, visitors can visit the kennels and pet these beautiful huskies, take photos or attend a sled dog demonstration.

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You can go hiking or camping out in the back country for which you would have to have a permit. And because this is bear country, everyone is urged to be “beary aware.” There are also so many hiking trails to chose from that would suit everyone’s abilities. We’ve hiked at least four easy and short ones.

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Day two, we rode a four hour bus to one of its six visitor centers in the hopes of getting a chance to see Mt. McKinley’s elusive peaks. We saw animals on the way but no peak. Tip: Private vehicles can only go so far inside the Park. The best way to see the interior is to get on a Denali bus

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Apart from the wildlife that you encounter along the way, you get THESE as bonus points too!

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Nothing but vast open green spaces of mountains and rivers and tundra and brush. You will never feel claustrophobic here! My head was plastered to the bus window the entire time, just simply enjoying the natural beauty of my surroundings. The four hour ride back to our campground didn’t seem long at all as there was always something to see.

After getting in as much Denali as we want in our two days, we decided to pack up and go drive to another destination. It was a bright sunny day and on our way out, we suddenly see THIS.

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The Peak!!! Denali is so big that it has its own weather system and is mostly covered by clouds. We were one of the lucky few who got the chance to see Denali that day! We stopped and made sure to take lots of photos whichever and however way we wanted.

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North peak on the left; South peak on the right photo (this was at another view point)

Seeing that just somehow made our beautiful day even more better. What were our chances?

Denali peak? CHECK! Moving on to the next adventure.


I almost forgot about that bathroom situation. 🙂 I promised so here’s my tale. So we made up house rules prior to this trip. No showers, no #2 inside. The only time we get to do this is when we are parked in a campground/RV park where the facilities are complete and they are much better able to handle bathroom emergencies. I tell you I paid $7.25 for a 3 minute hot shower! Best shower ever! The further up north we got the more expensive the showers got. Bathing? I ain’t got time for that!

Little Pockets of Bliss in Skagway

My story begins with a one week cruise and a nine day road trip on an RV along Alaska’s highways and byways with six other people. Yes, that’s right. My hubby, myself and five friends in one single RV camper. I know what you’re thinking. We are crazy!


After learning that I failed miserably at glass blowing in Skagway, the hubby and I decided to take a hike, literally, and spend some more quality time alone with nature before we rejoin the rest of our group.

Our über cool tour guide from the glass blowing activity suggested a couple of easy and short trails close to the town center and the ship ports. Alaska is never ever short on hiking trails so if you want free stuff to do, go hiking!

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The footbridge that led to several hiking trails in Skagway
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Skagway River

It was a gorgeous day for a hike! The breeze was a little chilly for this Florida girl but the walk and midday sun made up for it. We didn’t know which trail to take so we just picked randomly and hoped there were no bears in the area.

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We decided to hike to Smuggler’s Cove. Along the way, we met families with children and couples also hiking and exploring the trails. It was a rather pleasant feeling to watch kids running around and playing outdoors in the dirt instead of their electronics but then I digress.

The trail was easy with lots of shade provided by the trees. You can still see the huge cruise ships docked from a distance. A few more steps, up and down rocks and we reached the end of the almost hour-long hike. There was a picnic area with a grill and table.

It was a small cove, almost secret, hence the name. I haven’t really read anything that proved that this was actually used by smugglers in the past.

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Because we weren’t ready to go back yet, it is just so beautiful out here and we still had time to hike around some more, we took the other trail to Yakutania Pt.

It was pretty much the same terrain and distance, only maybe a little bit of elevation. And more rocks and boulders. Breathtaking nonetheless!

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There was an outcropping of boulders jutting out to the ocean where the waves were crashing crazily. The hubby couldn’t resist, he just had to check it out, because it was out there. The moment he turned around and started walking back, there was this huge wave that got him sprayed!  That was a fun one to watch. Too bad I didn’t capture it with my camera.

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That is me, in a state of bliss. Overwhelmed and thankful for the opportunity to go on this trip.


Follow us on our wild and crazy Alaska (mis)adventures!

*Ketchikan krazies

*The whales and glaciers in Juneau

*Skagway, part I

*Glacier Hiking

More stories to come your way!

Of Brothels and Blowing Glass

Skagway was once the largest city in Alaska due to the presence of prospective miners passing through this town to get to the Klondike gold rush in the Yukon Territory in Canada in 1896 – 1899. Remnants of its mining past are still preserved to this day as this town mostly relies on tourism for its economy.

Check out the Red Onion Saloon for a colorful history of Skagway’s once infamous bordello. You can’t have hordes of tired, hungry and drunk men with no entertainment, can you? I will leave this part all to your vivid imaginations folks and let the ghosts of the ladies past humor you.

It is also interesting to note that this town doubles in population during the busy summer tourist season, with the majority of the tourists coming in from cruise ships.

As for our glass blowing experience, I have no idea why it was being offered as one of the cruise ship’s excursions/activities in Skagway, but because I didn’t want to go on a long train ride, I chose this one. Plus, I have always wanted to try my hand at glass blowing.

The hubby had no choice but to come with me, poor thing. The rest of our friends went on a half day tour of the Yukon and White Pass railroads. I also really wanted some alone time with him too after a couple of days of group activities.

At first I thought he would be bored, but eventually, his interest picked up as I signed us up for an actual class where we get to participate in making our own glass balls.

First of all, you pick the design you want. There are several to chose from with different colors, plain or mixed, you can even chose to have some gold glitters embedded in it. Then you chose what kind of glass ball you like, paperweight or ornament.

He chose the paperweight while I chose the ornament.

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The steel rods (for lack of a better descriptive word) with molten hot glass on its tips should by then be already piping hot as they lay partially inside a furnace.

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After which you get one hot rod (HOT!) and dip it in glass splinters of the color of your choosing. The next steps involve a lot of twirling, blowing and heating until you get the desired size, shape and design.

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We helped twirl the rod inside the furnace, picked/tweezed on the hot glass to create the designs we selected, stuck the rod back to the furnace and then in the end, blew out enough oxygen – till you turn blue – (no, that was just me) to create that bubble.

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The finished product is super hot that the master glass blower as you can see  has to wear super thick gloves. He then somehow manages to strike a pose for the camera!

Here are our “works of art.” Notice my ornament is smaller than my hubby’s. This was because I didn’t have enough air in me to blow to make a bigger bubble. Need to do more breathing exercises, girl!

But, we got some pretty unique souvenirs, one that we helped create.

Have you tried making your own souvenirs?

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The Flowers of Alaska (Flower Power Series 3)

Oh, Alaska! You make me want to come back and see you again. There is so much natural beauty around, so many things to experience and gaze in wonder and amazement. Everything here is just so exponentially delicate and rugged at the same time that it leaves you breathless and yet so full of life and longing.

To the lover of wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world.  – John Muir

If I were to pick my most favorite part of our Alaskan adventure, it would have to be everything! Even that bear trip that got cancelled due to unfavorable weather conditions, even the part where I lost my Oakleys (ouch), even those times when your travel mates get so irritatingly annoying, I would still do it again with the same group of people in a heartbeat.

More Alaska stories are brewing, I promise. This is just one of them. Presenting to you my (wild) flowers, from Ketchikan to Homer.

Off the Beaten Path Surprises in Juneau

My story begins with a one week cruise and a nine day road trip on an RV along Alaska’s highways and byways with six other people. Yes, that’s right. My hubby, myself and five friends in one single RV camper. I know what you’re thinking. We are crazy!


So, after our whale watching experience in Juneau which left me with awe inspiring National Geographic-like moments, the tour company’s driver dropped us off at Mendenhall Glacier because it was included in the ticket price. Who can say no to two-in-one attractions?

You do know that Juneau is Alaska’s capital, right?

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Mendenhall Glacier is about 13 miles long and ends in Mendenhall lake where you can see icebergs of varied shapes and sizes floating peacefully by. Interestingly enough, the lake was formed in 1931 due to the continued recession of the glacier brought about by climate change.

There is a Visitor Center that offers panoramic views of the area and has everything you want to know about Mendenhall Glacier and its history. We didn’t go inside because it was full of people and we didn’t have enough time to browse through the displays. Our group was more interested in doing the active stuff, like hiking and looking for bears. Ugh!

We took a short 45 minute leisurely round trip hike to Nugget Falls which was beside the glacier. As we neared the falls, the sound of the crashing water got louder and louder until all you can hear is mostly just a thunderous explosion of water falling on a liquid surface. After exploring and goofing around, scrambling on rocks, and then skipping stones on the water, we were ready to go on our next mini adventure.

For more glacial action, check out this post.

https://thattravelingnurse.wordpress.com/2015/02/25/gone-glacier-hiking-and-eight-other-fun-facts-about-glaciers/

Because we wanted to wander around some more and do some hiking, we couldn’t make it to the time specified for the next pick up. Before dropping us off, the driver, I’m assuming he liked us because he gladly agreed and offered to pick us up a little later. 

So we found another less popular trail away from the Visitor Center which led us to this view. Another side of the glacier minus the tourists.

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And we get to touch this.

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On the way to the glacier, we found this too on the muddy trail. Uhh, bear tracks? I would be lying if I would say I wasn’t scared. This however, excited some members of our group! They wanted to see bears out in the wild. NOT ME (well, maybe a little). This is bear country and we were trespassing on its territory. No matter how many bear safety tips I have read prior to this trip, no matter if one of us was carrying a bear repellant spray (would that work against an angry bear?), no matter if we were a big group, I was still scared shit.

What if one would suddenly appear lumbering down this trail no matter how pretty these flowers looked? Eeek! What would YOU do?

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Thank God no bears were in sight that day! My guardian angel was definitely working overtime. 

We got picked up at the time we agreed on and again, I think the driver found our group interesting enough, instead of dropping us off near the cruise ship port, he suggested we go check out this hidden out of the way river for some live animal action. He dropped us off at what appears to be a factory of some sort and instructed us to walk through the brush and the pocket of trees until it leads us to the river.

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This was what we saw in the clearing.

Fish! Lots of them. Salmon spawning. Salmon running upstream. I have never seen so much fish in my entire life! They were all in a swimming frenzy despite the shallow waters. You can see their fins, their entire heads, part of their bodies all in a desperate attempt to go upstream where they spawn and then eventually die. Such a sad life for these creatures… but such is the circle of life too.

Because of the abundant food source here, naturally, predators and other animals are attracted to this place. This was the live animal action the driver was talking about.

And yet, someone was challenged by all the fish that were just apparently within our reach. He just had to do it.

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There you go. Fishing in Alaska.

(No fishes or other wildlife were harmed in this act. This fish was gently returned back to the water after this photo op)

‘Twas a Triumphant Day Indeed!

Photo 101 class is wrapping up and I have learned so much from it. From the start, I tried my very best to take daily photos with the assignments on hand but towards the end, I faltered and wavered, I ran out of ideas and time to do my daily shooting. I dipped into my archives every now and then to keep up.

Take for instance today, Triumph and Contrast, I figured in order to achieve something for it to be considered a victory, there has to be some sort of effort or process involved with it which cannot just be captured in a few hours of receiving this assignment.

Of course, I can always take a selfie to show that I am proud to have lasted this long in this class. What an accomplishment, right? Well then, we can all celebrate together this weekend.

But I want to share this story with you because this was a true triumph for me and the boys…

Once upon a time in Alaska, there were three Floridians who dreamed of fishing for salmon. They talked and planned about it for a long time. Finally, they get to the famed Russian River in the Kenai Peninsula where they get to experience first hand combat fishing. A whole day and a half they spent there, they only caught one fish, a Dolly Varden (not even salmon). One fish! The boys went home tired and disappointed.

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Moving along to the little town of Hope, they decided to fish again. This time at Resurrection Creek. This little body of water was no Russian River by any means. Family friendly, kids playing and fishing along with the big boys, it looked like a relaxing spot to fish. No pressure, no combat fishing here.IMG_5480

And then, suddenly, their luck changed. Fish after fish, snagging one after the other on their hooks. Fish on, fish on! We were all so excited. Now, we can have dinner.

After just a few hours on the water, they caught a total of nine pink salmon, three each per person as allowed by Alaskan fishing laws. Nine fresh, squirming salmon! You can see my hubby’s huge smile here, never mind the cold and wet. It was so worth it in the end.

Now, the story does not end there. After our Alaska trip, I submitted some photos to an Alaska photo contest. Although I did not win (it was a popularity contest where the photo with the most votes wins), my photo got picked to go in their travel magazine! How cool is that!!!

Life’s simple joys. 

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