I’ve been trying to collect my thoughts on my experiences in Alaska since I returned home one week ago, where does the time go. I can’t believe I’ve been home that long already. A lyric to a song keeps popping into my head and really does sum up how Alaska made me feel – “I get a peaceful, easy feeling”, that says it all. I caught myself closing my eyes in Alaska when I was truly in awe of the beauty I saw, a few times I could feel my eyes tear up because I was truly overwhelmed. If the opportunity to visit Alaska ever presents itself – “GO”, you won’t regret it, and if you need some advice on cool things to see or do, call me.
I think we took every mode of transportation available (planes, trains, automobiles, helicopters, tour buses, cruise ships, ferries and on foot). My husband Dale is so crazy for trains. While he was mapping out our whole excursion I was a bit apprehensive about all these “train rides” that he was booking. And now, all I have to say is that, “I love trains”. I would actually consider a “train vacation” in the future. Alaska has some great “rails” to ride.
We had the best weather and were so fortunate to see the leaves showing off their beautiful fall colors. I’ve never seen anything like it and probably never will. It was like they waited for us and wanted to put on a private show. The trees, moose and bears definitely outnumber the residents. That was one of the things I loved best about Alaska, it was like the 20th century passed them by.
We stood at one large lake that back in the gold rush days there were 20,000 – 30,000 tents with people thinking they were going to hit it rich. Can you imagine what a harsh reality it would have been living through that first winter. I get cold just thinking about putting my hands in those cold streams sifting through a bunch of small rocks, day after day, week after week, year after year and the despair most of these people must have felt.
I saw so many beautiful sunsets; one at Denali Park was so crazy/beautiful, it didn’t even look real. I kept saying it looks like the sky is on fire. Then we were rewarded the next day with a clear day and we actually could see all of Mt. McKinley in its glory, it’s the tallest peak in North America. I think only 2% of the people actually see it on a clear day, it’s usually clouded over, but I saw it, how lucky was I? We kept saying every day was better than the last; I had to almost pinch myself.
I landed on a glacier twice, once in a small plane and once in a helicopter. I lay on my stomach on one glacier and drank from the bluest, clearest, coldest stream of water you’ve ever seen. My god that water was so cold it hurt my throat. Who gets to do stuff like that? I did.
I can’t wait to get some of our pictures developed. I will choose a few to keep near where I do my writing. I will put my headset on, listen to some Jackson Browne or Eagles and remember that peaceful, easy feeling I felt in Alaska and the words will begin to flow…
Many thanks to my mother-in-law Betty who made this trip possible, words cannot express my sincere gratitude.